Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Sad Fall of Titus Young (and Hope for Redemption)

The first time Titus Young was arrested, I avoided the news. Typically, I don't gawk when somebody gets arrested on small stuff because 1) I don't the full story, 2) I'd rather they be shamed by others than me. My aunt told me as a kid to "look once, then look away" so I try not to stare at certain things.

The 2nd time he was arrested (15 hours later), I wondered how dumb this guy could be. Getting arrested twice in a day is unheard of, even for me having been to college where I saw people do enough dumb things that warranted it. It made me start to notice and roll my eyes a bit.

The 3rd time, 6 days later? He ran from police after being accused of breaking into a house. For me, this stopped being a joke and it became sad. I started to feel sorry for him because something isn't right.

Young has been troubled since his college days at Boise State where he fought a teammate his sophomore year. He punched a Lions teammate in May 2012 and last year, publicly got into it with receivers coach on the sidelines. It takes a lot for a team to ban you from their facilities and he's done that. The St. Louis Rams only spent 9 days with him before parting ways.

Clearly, he's a loose cannon who got run out of Detroit and now he's firing cannonballs into his life. This saddens me.

I heard how talented he was at University High School out here in Los Angeles my first year on the prep beat. I watched him blossom at Boise State. His rookie year gave me hope he'd succeed. Now he's a punchline and walking dynamite.

Folks will be glad to make jokes about Young, just like they do whenever somebody gets arrested. They clowned Pacman Jones, the late Chris Henry and many more. But for me, somebody who cringes at the site of Black faces in mugshots, it saddens me because it adds to the public perception of Black men as threatening or criminals.

I'm also bothered because I think something is wrong with him. I see a father concerned and when a Dad is concerned for his son, you need to notice. Jail may be Titus Young's destination but what about seeing if he's exhibiting symptoms of something worse. He's resisted treatments at mental health facilities and his girlfriend has a restraining order against him.

That's a dangerous man. Even worse when he's a danger to others as he hurts himself. And if this report from an old teammate is true, he knows he needs to fix himself.

I'm not angry at him, I pity him. He's damaged his NFL career, he's messing up his life. I take no joy in seeing someone spiral into trouble and at some point, I pray someone looks to see if that boy is indeed alright and not the sufferer of mental troubles, as his dad suspected.

At 23 years old, the NFL is a wish that can wait. Teams will always take a chance on talent although his chances are limited. He needs to get his life together for the sake of himself and his son. I hope he does.

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