Pressures of The NFL
My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Kenny McKinley. For those who haven’t heard, the Broncos wide receiver was found at his home in Colorado around 3:30 PM. The police are saying that he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
McKinley was a 4-year starter at South Carolina during his collegiate days, where he earned All-SEC honors. He played in 8 games last year before being placed on the Injured Reserve List with a knee injury. McKinley was also placed on the IR for this year as well because of his knee not fully recovering yet. He was 23 years old.
Stories like these show you the pressures of pro sports. To the everyday fan, its just a game, but to most who play in the NFL, the game is life. We don’t know the specifics as to why McKinley apparently committed suicide, but in my estimation, the pressures of playing eventually ate him up. The thing that I want more people to get out of this article is that no matter how famous or blessed athletically someone is, they are still human. Human beings go through ups and downs and athletes are no different.
The thing that people don’t realize is that in the NFL, you are more isolated than u would be at a college or high school level, so you have no one to talk to or relate to readily available. And the pride issue and the disappointment of what he thought he should be doing at this point in his career were eating at him. If he would have set his pride down and not took everything on his shoulders, I think everything would have gotten worked out. He did something that a lot of athletes do, not talking about their issues and letting pride get in the way.
So, in closing, people who constantly ride athletes, maybe we need to step back and realize that these people are human beings just like us and even though we may be upset with how they play, we still have to build them up as well. Support is always needed. This happening was a wakeup call.
R.I.P. Kenny McKinley