Very impressed by the words of Liz Cambage from the WNBA in this article. I’m gonna link to it in stories so you can read the whole thing.
Little bkrnd: I was having a convo w a colleague from the NBA League Office abt a yr ago, when it was announced that the Players Association was going to be hiring their own MH docs for the privacy & protection of the players. He asked me what else I thought should be done.
I told him (in 2018), I understood the need still for player privacy when it comes to MH. Bc of where we’re still at in society, bc of how even w our coaches & GMs in sports, we can’t guarantee that a player’s MH being completely public won’t come back to haunt them, some form of privacy option still needs to remain.
All of that said – I told him, we need to find a way to START to open up on this topic & make it mainstream. We need a way to get to the point (as Liz eloquently explains), where going to the doc for our brain or sitting out a game(s) for our brain, is no diff than doing either of those for our bodies. But again, we’re not fully there yet.
My suggestion was: have a “DNP – Mental Health.” For those not familiar w DNP, it stands for “Did Not Play” & then a reason follows it. It’s often things like: “coach’s decision” or “lower body injury.”
Why did I recommend DNP – MH? If anyone remembers the coach of the Cavs, Tyronn Lue, when he was nearing the Finals w his team, he had to take off a # of games. He didn’t tell anyone why, at the time, & bc of it rumors swirled: awful things abt his possible MH, even his private life that must’ve happened.
Point being, when it’s a player (or coach), w how “in the news” MH is now, if you don’t see an actual physical injury happen on the court (like Kevin Durant) & you sit out a game(s), the rumor mill begins to swirl. In the public eye, there’s NO such thing as full privacy.
Liz, who battles MH, calls for the same thing in her article (amongst many other great points). We don’t need to go so far as to reveal details of MH on a player (“suicidal ideations”), but the more we “normalize” that we ALL go through things by being open, the better for sports & SOCIETY.