May 2, 2012, - 7:03 pm

Junior Seau Committed the Most Selfish Act of All

By Debbie Schlussel

The big story in sports news today is former NFL player Junior Seau’s suicide by gunshot.  While no one knows yet–and we may never know–why Seau killed himself, suicide is the most selfish act you can commit against those closest to you and there is no justification for it–unless, for example, you know you are about to be tortured to death, a position in which Seau certainly was not or unless he was completely out of possession of his faculties, of which there is zero evidence.  He left his aging mother in a world of hurt from which she’ll never recover and several kids who are now fatherless and forever traumatized.  His girlfriend walked in on his dead body. It goes without saying that it’s so very tragic and sad. But it’s sadder for those left with the choice he made today.


Junior Seau Committed the Ultimate Act of Selfishness

For those who follow pro football, as I do, Seau was a linebacker.  And a lot of people are speculating that perhaps he committed suicide because of brain injuries from concussions suffered from the many hits he sustained in that position.  He would not be the first.  Former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson also committed suicide.  But still, that is rare, even for former NFL players.  A very few, however, have lost the ability to care for themselves or think fluidly, due to the injuries.  The rush to blame this on concussions, based on scant evidence, is silly.


I wonder about Seau’s finances.  Many NFL players have profligate spending habits, which don’t change when the gravy train runs out and their NFL careers are over.  Some can’t handle that they are no longer stars on the field.  And maybe one of these could be the reason for his suicide.  Or maybe he had problems with someone in his life.  Who knows what the reason could be?

Regardless, unless he was struck by a mental condition or extreme pain beyond his control, there is no excuse for suicide.  And there is no excuse for the pain to which you expose your family and loved ones.  Sadly, no one will say that because the story broke today and we tend to mourn and fondly remember the dead, despite what they did and any sort of critical thinking about it.  We’ve made suicide far too acceptable in this world.  It’s time to end the glorification.  It needs to be condemned, rather than chic-ified.

I pray for Junior Seau’s mother, who has to live on with the pain of burying her own son in a death that didn’t need to happen, and for his kids who bear a similarly unnecessary burden.  The NFL concussion issue is a crutch and probably an excuse for the real reasons Junior Seau died.

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82 Responses

People are so ignorant about depression and suicide. My sister attempted suicide a number of times and finally was successful last year. She described the pain that accompanies severe depression as a “black fog” and knew when it was coming on. Even her own psychologist underestimated the illness.

This is a feeling that none of us can attempt to explain unless we had it. It’s like trying to empathsize with a parent who has lost their child when your child is sitting at the breakfast table looking at you. Unless you have truly felt that way, you can’t understand it. It doesn’t have a damn thing with whether it is a “noble act” etc. People just want the pain to stop. They truly feel they have no other choice at that time.

Kalie Wolf on May 4, 2012 at 4:56 am

If there’s anything more annoying than the knee-jerk accuser, it’s the knee-jerk denier. I don’t know Junior Seau. WE don’t know Junior Seau. Even his family, apparently, didn’t know Junior Seau. What we DO know is Seau left behind a grieving mother, father and 3 now-fatherless children along with a $1.1 million mortgage on their home which Seau took out last year. And if it’s revealed Seau killed himself to donate his brain to science, we’ll also know a) Seau valued his teammates more than his family; b) the void in his life wasn’t depression but a pathological, narcissistic need for “hero worship”; c) the NFL must do a better job of deprogramming “stars” retiring to anonymity.

ag moncrieff on May 4, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Ridiculous. He left a home with a 1.1 million dollar mortgage.
    You left out the fact that he made close to 100 million dollars in his playing career, not including endorsements, etc. If he left his brain to science, it in no way proves that he valued his teammates more.

    The void in his life could be both pathological and depression. IN the case of CTE, a progressive and degenerative and incurable disease brought about by head trauma, depression and dementia are just two of the symptoms.

    You have no idea what you are talking about and your post was a complete waste of time.

    john on May 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Depression is treatable, suicide can sometimes be prevented in that way. My job, incidentally, is to take people who think suicide is the only way out and treat them into a state where they can go on.

    There is nothing in any article I have seen that states that Seau was under a psychiatrist’s or behavioral neurologist’s care. This was a guy who survived driving his car off a cliff. He should have been in treatment. If he was not, then it is a surety that all that could be done was not done to take care of him.

    Incidentally, I’ve worked with scores, if not hundreds, of TBI patients, and thousands of dementia patients, in my almost 20 years as an UCLA trained psychiatrist. I’ve been boarded since 1995, started practice in 1993.

    Occam's Tool on May 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Excellent points, ag moncrieff.

The only thing I’d disagree, slightly, is the NFL must do the deprogramming. I think it’s the individual’s job.

I think everyone agrees it’s a tragedy. I doubt anyone posting so far is denying there are points in life when problems seem overwhelming, and YES, there is genuine depression and mental problems.

But, I still say, we are at the point where far too many don’t want to take responsibility for their lives and blame it on CTE, depression, and whatever when what you need is to look in the mirror and take some responsibility for yourself. As a Christian, I’d also say seek a pastor and turn your life to God.

You can blame anything on a “disease” or whatever these days. People are calling their alcoholism a “disease” which I think is bizarre since nobody is forcing you.

Jeff_W on May 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

john, if you think Seau making $100 million in his career means he was wealthy at this time you haven’t been paying attention.

An SI.com study revealed over 70% of pro athletes are bankrupt within 2 years of their career ending. A quick Google will reveal tons of stories of these former multi-millionaires who are broke today. Look up former Baltimore Ravens CB Chris McCalister who is now living with his parents due to money issues.

Those mansions, babies, exes, hangers on, and stupid business deals eat that money up very quickly.

I think “ag moncrieff” nailed it. I’m thinking he missed the soptlight and I wouldn’t doubt money issues.

john, “You have no idea what you are talking about and your post was a complete waste of time.”

john, I’m amazed how you seem to have this intimate knowledge of why Seau committed suicide. Since you have this inside knowledge, maybe you should contact the police so everyone else will know.

Jeff_W on May 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    You have no idea if he had money issues. Neither do I. You have no idea if he missed the spotlight. Neither do I.

    You and I both know that he played 20 years of football at the linebacker position, and he has taken numerous shots to the head.

    I know that cte is caused by head trauma. You don’t, because you haven’t bothered reading anything. I can’t remember- were you one of the ignorant idiots on this thread who doesn’t know anything about depression and thinks that someone is a coward if they kill themselves?

    Jeff, 70 per cent of which athletes and which sports? How many years have these athletes played? Does this include all minor league baseball players, many who make about 20k per year? Does it include the 1200 NFL players who will be signed to contracts and then cut. That number means nothing.

    There hasn’t been anything said about seau having money issues, so how could AG have hit it right on the head. And just because Chris mcalister is broke, why does that mean Seau would be. What type of logical constructs are you working off of here.

    You’ve clearly never suffered from depression, so I can understand your ignorance, and you still haven’t figured out that CTE is a degenerative, incurable disease.

    As far as alcoholism being a disease, i don’t think it is. Oddly enough, AA does but thinks its cured by a higher power. But the whole AA conundrum is another story for another day.

    Anyway, the family is donating the brain, so we will find out at least about CTE

    John on May 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I cant believe junior or anyone would do what he did with his family in the house his son was in the next room? is that true? what a idiot I lost a whole lotta love on JS

majoto on May 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

He played in the NFL for TWENTY YEARS! His pension was staggering, compared to most folks. Granted he bought his Condo at the height of the market, but he had the dough. Money was not an issue here. To this day, he owns a very successful sports bar in San Diego. His foundation recently donated equipment to Oceanside High School. Last year he was arrested for alleged domestic violence. After being released from jail (no charges were ever filed) he ran his Escalade off a cliff onto the sand in Carlsbad, CA and claimed he fell asleep at the wheel. The transition from superstar to average citizen it what did him in. He was not prepared to be an average Joe. May he rest in peace..

#1 Vato on May 6, 2012 at 1:13 am

I agree unless you suffer with depression, dont judge. Please…I struggled almost all my life, there isnt a day that goes by since at least 2009, that I dont think bot being dead, and multible times a day. You can’t understand the pain, and it does feel like your being tortured to death most time, actually thats the pefect way to describe it. Cause you feel so helpless to stop, control, or alter it.

CrazyPeas on May 6, 2012 at 3:37 am

Again, and again—I don’t know if Duerson was under treatment, either.

Fixing these folks is what I do for a living. If they ccoperate with treatment a GREAT deal can be done.

But we don’t know the clinical facts of this case, and, given the way the media reports, it is doubtful we ever will know.

Occam's Tool on May 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm

TBI is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, as well. This DOES NOT mean that the depression is untreatable.

Occam's Tool on May 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Here is the ugly truth about many deaths and suicides of former NFL Players………..ANABOLIC STEROIDS. A life filled with depression follows steady use of steroids. The stuff does more to mess up your mind than improve your body. Everybody wants to jump on the brain damage bandwagon, and there is vailidity to this claim in many cases, coupled with steroid use, this can be fatal.

moeberg on May 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I believe as you do that the reason for the suicide could have been financial. Maybe Seau was in such debt he could not provide support for his charities and was ashamed to admit it. His suicide does present a terrible time for his family and unfortunately he was not strong enough to realize this. Although I’m a Bronco fan, and Junior wreaked havoc on my team and John Elway, I loved watching him play as I enjoy excellence of individuals at the athletic and academic levels regardless of who they are.

NormCBS on May 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I think its pretty obvious from reading this article that the author has never had a loved one commit suicide. I myself am a survivor and i can tell you that my father neither wanted nor received any glory in taking his own life.

chris on August 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

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