1/12/2021: The Importance Of Sports Offering a DNP – Mental Health

This is a topic that has so many layers to it. Upon first glance, in this space, though you feel bad for whatever Kyrie is dealing w, it’s nice to see he took a “mental health” day. We need more openness, right?
But there is way more to this than meets the eye. That’s the title of the article (based on the feedback of what those close to him have heard). Instead, as shared as a screen shot in Stories & on the official stat sheet, Kyrie was officially a DNP “did not play” – Personal. He has been for 4 games now.
This is impt bc, especially in this space, words matter. Context matters. Just over a yr ago, you might remember I shared commentary on a Players’ Tribune article written by Liz Cambage of the WNBA entitled: “DNP – Mental Health.”
In that piece she talked abt how this designation should be normalized, bc just like physical health, MH is a part of health. Yet here we are, more than a yr later, & the designation when a player takes off, for any reason unrelated to a physical injury, & the closest we have is “personal.”
To make matters more complicated, Kyrie hasn’t always been the media’s darling. He’s a cerebral & empathetic guy who thinks deeply abt topics (he took off a day after Kobe’s death). He’s shunned the media on occasion when it’s come to his decisions not to play. But here’s the thing – is any of that our business?  Yes he’s a public figure…but if we practice what we preach, we should be accepting of the fact that MH is MH & anyone’s reason for needing a day/days is theirs. We’re each impacted differently.
Bc these players get paid lots of $ in guaranteed contracts, the expectation is, they can’t miss games. Says who? If we’re open abt our MH, we have the option of short term disability – WHILE we are paid. Like a player, we deal w our employer knowing the “why,” but we do have salary protection.
For these reasons, DNP – MH needs to be normalized. What are we running from? This is a place sports CAN & SHOULD take the lead for our society.

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