OK Boomer — Esiason reckless to speculate about Seahawks’ Adams
Boomer Esiason doesn’t claim to be a psychologist, which should be his first clue that he shouldn’t be assessing the mental health of the athletes he now talks about as a New York radio host.
But he seems to be way too comfortable invoking one condition in particular.
He did it in 2016 with Cam Newton, then the Carolina Panthers quarterback: “I’m not a psychologist, but I almost feel like he’s bipolar. When things are going great he’s on top of the world. And then when things go bad he basically sulks.”
He did it last year on his WFAN radio show after receiver Odell Beckham was traded from the Giants to the Cleveland Browns: “I think he’s bipolar, myself, and I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to handle him.”
And last week, Esiason mention it in relation to safety Jamal Adams after he was traded from the Jets to the Seattle Seahawks: “Jamal is a great football player, I don’t know if he’s a bipolar person. I don’t know what other issues he may have in his life, but what he did here with the Jets was an absolute disgrace.”
Now, bipolar disorder refers to a specific condition that is usually categorized into three different types. Bipolar should not be used as a synonym for moody or energetic, and for someone without any training or expertise to speculate is unfair both to the person who is being labeled and to the people who actually have that condition.
I’ll go a step further: If you knew a person was clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I don’t think it’s appropriate to share that information without the individual’s consent let alone speculate about it. Mental health is something that is both important and incredibly personal, and while I don’t think there should be any shame or stigma associated with it, I don’t think it’s something to discussed casually, either.
It’s possible I feel so strongly about this because I struggled with my mental health for most of my 20s. I was diagnosed with depression in 2008 and I began taking Celexa (a serotonin reuptake-inhibitor). Two years ago, I added Wellbutrin to work in conjunction with the Celexa. I am not hesitant to share that because the medication has helped me a great deal as has years of talk therapy. Treatment helped me, and I believe strongly we should do what we can to encourage people to look at their mental health in the same way we do injuries: something that can be addressed.
But it’s more than just the cavalier nature of Esiason’s speculation that bothered me. It’s what prompted it. Why did Esiason look at Adams’ exit from the Jets to join the Seahawks and wonder if this was a mental-health issue? Asking for a trade is part of the business. Has been for a while. In fact, there was a certain blonde-haired quarterback who asked to be traded from Cincinnati after the 1992 season. That request is what precipitated Esiason’s arrival with the Jets.
Something tells me Esiason didn’t think that was such a dysfunctional idea back then, though.
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