Mental Illness In Sports, Coaches Who Don't Sleep And H.S. Football Violence

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(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Not all of the interesting sports stories of the week are splashed across the headlines. That’s why we have “3 Stories You Should Know” — a discussion of the news you might have missed.

This week, Bill Littlefield is joined by U.S.A. Today Columnist Nancy Armour and sports journalist Erik Malinowski.

1. Sports And The Stigma Of Mental Illness

Former NFL running back Ricky Williams was profiled this week in Buzzfeed. Williams played in the NFL for 11 years, but much of his promise as a player was derailed by his social anxiety disorder. Now Williams has enrolled at UT Austin to study psychology. Erik recalls how far sports have come — since Williams's debut in 1999 — in addressing mental illness.

EM: One notable example is Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers who's talked about his own struggles for about a decade, and he's in the midst of a historic season right now. But at the same time, I couldn't name you five more baseball players who have been even a fraction as open about it as Greinke has. So I feel like there's still much more that we can do in terms of awareness, but we've certainly reached some point where careers need not be derailed as a result of it.

2. Coaches Need More Sleep

Football coaches have been in the news urging and even requiring their players to get more sleep — which is ironic because, if you believe the hype, coaches never sleep. Bill Littlefield thinks it's time for coaches to take their own advice.

BL: It's time, I think, to challenge that mystique that you can't be a great football coach unless you never go home for dinner and don't remember the names of your children. It's ridiculous. They ought to be able to do what they do in a more efficient way. And if they did, maybe we wouldn't have to pay them $5.5 million a year to do what they do.

3. High School Footballers Vs. Refs

In a span on eight days, video of two incidents of high school football players in San Antonio taking the law into their own hands and tackling referees. In the first, two players blindsided a referee. The players say they were told by their assistant coach to take out the ref. Either way, Nancy Armour finds the player-on-ref violence disturbing. 

NA: This is a really dangerous thing that we're seeing, and I hope that it's not going to be the start of a trend. Hopefully the reaction to it will let kids know that, yeah no, this is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.

More Stories You Should Know:

This segment aired on September 19, 2015.


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