1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Tremendous and tragic U-T series on Junior Seau

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by LongTimeListener, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member


    Written by Jill Lieber, who notes in the article that she wrote an SI cover story on Seau in the early '90s. So she has known him forever.

    First part posted on Oct. 14, laying the foundation with his early life and what was happening around and after his retirement. Part 2 is due Oct. 21 and is titled "A life unravels."

    Speculation about concussions/CTE is there but is not the whole of the article, fortunately. Here is the most apt passage:

    In the five months since his death, through countless hours of interviews with those close to Seau, portraits of two distinctly different men have emerged. Interestingly, many of those interviewed say that they’d known since Seau’s days with the Chargers, in the early- to mid-1990s, about his striking dichotomy — some even refer to the phenomenon as “The Good Junior and The Bad Junior.”

    The fact that there were two very different Seaus seems to have been downplayed, brushed under the rug and kept out of the public eye by many of those closest to him over the past two decades. Was it done to protect his legacy? Or, selfishly, to allow others to continue enjoying the ride? Probably both. But more than anything, Seau’s story seems defined by a tragic lack of understanding. In the years before his suicide, people around Seau simply weren’t equipped to know what an NFL linebacker headed for catastrophe looked like.

    Seau, who had very few deeply meaningful relationships over the years, once said that he felt unworthy of being loved and often felt extremely lonely. He never was diagnosed with clinical depression, never received medical treatment for it, and never took anti-depressants. But he showed signs of such extreme lows in the late 1990s that his ex-wife Gina said she and their three children would have to retreat to the other end of the house to get away from him and his low moods.

    This first part of the series is 11 pages but well worth the time. I am guessing the second part will be even moreso.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    OK, Part 2 is out -- heartbreaking.


    My first attempt didn't draw any discussion, but damn this is a well-done story. Lots of recriminations with his kids over his past sins, and a timeline of that earlier one-car accident that leaves little doubt that it was a suicide attempt.
  3. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member

    Love how I got to the 16th page and it shut me out for not having a subscription.
  4. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    cripes. that sucks.

    no surprise that jill's done a compelling job. i've oft wondered what she's been up to since her s.i. days.
  5. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    You're lucky. It shut me out on page 4.
  6. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Wonder if they realize how few people will react with "Damn! Where's my credit card?!?!? I gotta read THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  7. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I read Part 1 and enjoyed it very much.

    As part of a craft discussion, I would say there were a lot of quotes stacked on top of quotes. John Lynch's quote, for example, went on for three (maybe even four) paragraphs. There were a couple sections where I thought she could have paraphrased better than the speaker, because a lot of the comments had similar themes.

    But that's my only minor quinnle. Lots of wonderful reporting. A really sad story. I think it's interesting how quickly his death became an afterthought. The day he killed himself, I saw all kinds of people I follow on Twitter saying this was a "game changer" and we would never view football the same way again. I see those same people writing about the NFL gleefully these days, having totally forgotten their moment of angst and doubt.

    Looking forward to illegally reading Part 2.
  8. mpcincal

    mpcincal Well-Known Member

    Terrific stories, both of them. Oh, and a little secret if you can't get it all. I was able to read most of it on my desktop until the site stopped me at page 15. I then was able to fire up my laptop and read the rest on that one. So, if you have one of each, or another computer in the household, you can try that.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I did what mpc did. I guess that's a testament to the story, but yes, terrible marketing.

    DD -- I kind of liked the free-form Lynch quotes. I thought they were pretty right and complete.

    My big question was how she figured out talking to the kids. They obviously left the 12-year-old out of it for the most part, but the older ones were surprisingly open. Shockingly. Especially the 15-year-old.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    PROTIP: Hit the "Print" button on any story (on just about any website) to put it all on one webpage.

  11. gingerbread

    gingerbread Well-Known Member

    Two things struck me in this terrific piece of work.

    One, even though it's assumed Seau was sliding this way, I'd have liked to read more attribution to clarify this paragraph: "Seau was completely unprepared for retirement’s physical, psychological, emotional and financial toll. Instead of having open-ended days in which he could just relax and enjoy life, he started to question his identity; his purpose in life; his shortcomings as a husband, a boyfriend and a father, and his worth as a man."

    And two, regarding the same theme, while I have tremendous compassion for anyone experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bi-polar, addiction, alcoholism or any of the slew of things that appeared to afflict Seau -- I just can't muster the same degree of sympathy for athletes who cast heaps of blame on their profession for forsaking them after they leave the game.
    Most anyone else who quits or is laid off or fired from a profession they once loved do not have a support system to help with the landing. Most don't have people to show them how to cope on the outside, how to reconnect with family, how to move ahead.
    Maybe I misread Gary Plummer's comment -- “There should be an intense, hands-on, one-on-one exit strategy in the NFL,” Plummer said. “I’ve seen the NFL say, since Junior’s passing, ‘We have an exit strategy. We have counseling.’ Oh, really? Do former players actually use it? The truth is, when you retire from the NFL, the league drops you like a bad habit.” -- but something about it continues to bother me.

    I'm not in any way referring to medical or psychological treatment, which should be given to all athletes who retire for as long as they wish. But this idea that some aren't equipped for life after the game and need lots of hand-holding sounds an awful lot like whining about how they're no longer the biggest man in the room. It's so disconnected to the rest of the world.
    And the part about his tormented relationships with his children was especially heartbreaking.
  12. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    I wasn't gonna say anything, because I figured this was the automatic move when one wishes to read a multi-page story.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page