23 December 2005

A Prayer for James Dungy (and his family)

The news of (Indianapolis Colts' Head Coach,) Tony Dungy's son's suicide has splashed everywhere, so you may not be learning about it here. But if you're like most people you learned about it on Sportcenter, where they did a whitewash on the lad's personal history.

We understand that when someone dies it is customary and appropriate to focus on the positive (Nixon's funeral was an obvious example,) but the picture of a boy who "goes to church on Wednesday, twice on Sunday," and was in all respects perfect and pure does not mesh with our idea of what kind of person could kill himself in the 10 late-night minutes that his girlfriend went for a walk. So we did about thirty seconds of research and it turns out that there were two sides to the lad, and one, whether the dominant one or not, was quite dark. See It Now.

This does not mean James' death is not terrible, it clearly is. We cried when we learned. Tony has been one of our favorite figures in the NFL since his final game as Bucs Head Coach, when he coached a hell of a game, was robbed by the refs in the last seconds, but handled it all with unparalleled class. Our hearts go out to him, and though we don't pray often, we know the Dungys do, so our prayers are with them, too.

But tragedy is no reason to lie. This kind of (supposedly,) benevolent lying is how the Pat Tilman and Jessica Lynch stories got ruined.

(It is our further hope that this issue (lying, not suicide,) may spur some conversation among you Eighters out there.)

1 comment:

Uneasy Rider said...

You're right.... something was apparently very wrong with this young man. A well-adjusted kid doesn't just up and kill himself at the age of 18. I saw the website before it was taken down... a lot of gansta-wannabe type of talk. And all the pics of marijuana leaves, etc... people of the site would have ample material for all sorts of speculation as to what may have gone wrong. Drugs almost certainly play a part, but my guess is the drugs are but a symptom of the real underlying problem(s). And Tony Dungee is in for one helluva hard time for some years to come... he'll be forever second-guessing what tell-tale signs, however subtle, did he miss while he was so busy doing his thing.

Yes, I feel sorry for Tony and the rest of his family. But I've been close to lots of junkies who wound up killing themselves. It's a terrible loss, and my heart goes out to the family, but this kind of stuff happens almost every day to less famous people.