03/10/2023 A Letter To The Game

Calvin Ridley’s a beast of a football player. Won two National Championships at ‘Bama before getting drafted in the 1st Rnd by the Falcons in 2018. All he’s done since is catch over 200 passes for over 3,000 yds, & 28 TD’s. Guess what – after the story he just shared in The Players’ Tribune, he’s even more of a beast as a HUMAN BEING.

Calvin had to step away from the game for MH reasons in 2021. It was then announced he was being suspended for gambling on his team, indefinitely through 2022.  If you’ve been following here for some time, then you’re not surprised that the narrative in the sports media (& by proxy amongst fans) was that MH was being used as a “cover up” to get him away from the game bc the “real” issue & problem was: he was a gambler.

That’s what’s done in this space. It’s what was talked abt in my last post (not surprisingly that got suppr&ssed): we separate ppl into buckets so we can label & have simple explanations. Calvin Ridley = Gambling Addict. Everything else, irrelevant.

That’s why Calvin’s share yesterday was so big. He tied his who life experience together. Showed the narrative. Being dropped off w his brother one day by his aunt at a foster home – no heads up from his parents. His brother’s cries for their mom still in his head. Dealing w a broken foot all season & being shot up w Toradol bc – he was a producer & needed to show up each game to produce. Hopped up on pain killers. Then his house gets robbed – whole neighborhood outside to witness – his wife devastated & traumatized – afraid to go back & live in the house. 

That’s why I pulled this quote. Calvin was dealing w a LOT. And he didn’t know what it was. He’d go home to a dark room & just sit there. No energy to play w his kids.

His numbness – he needed to feel something. He downloaded a common gambling app used by millions. Did he make a mistake – absolutely. Is he simply: Calvin the Gambler? Absolutely not.

The more public figures are willing to be vulnerable abt their “stuff,” the more the simple (ineffective, wrong, & misleading) labeling narrative stops. 

Calvin’s a human, w trauma whose coping was maladaptive. 

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