It’s sad when someone dies. Even sadder still when you hear that someone possibly ended their own life. This appears to be the story of Junior Seau. According to reports Seau died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. I was watching ESPN NFL Live yesterday as the reporters and commentators mourned the loss of a football legend and friend.
The Marcellus Wiley interview was the most difficult to watch. Wiley recounted his playing days with Seau and during the segment there were parts of the story that definitely made me sit up and pay attention.
Wiley said that Seau always wanted others to see him as in control. He told of how during training camp Seau would be treated by private doctors away from teammates because he didn’t want others to see him in pain or hurting. Wiley said, “Junior wanted to make sure when you saw him he was as at full strength, didn’t want you to see him in his weakest moments.” An emotional Wiley went on to say that he and his teammates would have been there for Junior if he had reached out to them.
Often we equate leadership only with strength and power. While these may be integral components that are not the only characteristics good leaders demonstrate. Concentrating only on these can suggest to others that showing emotion or needs is a weakness. Look at it from a football perspective. As a defensive player you are paid to hit and intimidate others. No one wants a defensive captain who shows signs of vulnerability.
Maybe that translated into Junior’s personal life. Maybe his need to show strength and power on the field prevented him from being vulnerable off the field. Maybe the perception of who he should be kept him of getting the help that he really needed.
We may never know.
No matter the story my prayers go out to all those who have been impacted by the death of Junior Seau.
In what areas of your life do you need to be more vulnerable? Who can you reach out to if you need help?