Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall Shows Green While Teammates Show Pink

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Theme:– A Conversation on Gun Violence, Bias and Mental Illness

The NY Giants haven’t yet won a game this season. The Chicago Bears didn’t make it any easier. That’s one of many surprises as some teams are bleeding red in the win/loss column. Many players have been wearing pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Brandon Marshall was seen wearing green instead.

Each October the NFL teams-up with the American Cancer Society. Their annual awareness campaign brings attention to breast cancer sufferers and survivors. It’ not that Marshall doesn’t support this cause. His green cleats were to promote Mental Health Awareness Week which also occurs in October.

So the NFL sent a letter to Marshall explaining why he was fined $10,500. It’s a lot of money for the average person. Marshall himself was diagnosed in 2011 with ‘borderline personality disorder.’ He understands the stigma people feel and maybe it’s why pro sports is such an important part of his story.

Marshall tweeted “Football is my platform not my purpose. This fine is nothing compared to the conversation started and awareness raised.” He makes a great point about how sports can play a purposeful role. It might also be an effective platform to stem gun violence, bias and mental health issues.

The debate in sports circles is that the NFL needs to broaden its support for other awareness campaigns advocated by athletes. Sure, it’s impossible to support every such effort. Some feel instead of making one campaign the “Queen” they can make a cross-section of campaigns part of their awareness strategy.

Footnote: Organized sports can provide an outlet for those dealing with hometown issues and a platform for a larger conversation on social issues.

Miriam Carey’s Final Moments Have Left More Questions Than Answers

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Theme:– A Conversation on Gun Violence, Bias and Mental Illness

Just over a week ago there was breaking news about a shooting near the Capitol. At first information was sketchy with parts of the D.C. area on lockdown. As word spread it was revealed that the incident started at a White House side street. Miriam Carey’s final moments have left more questions than answers.

It seems police on the scene felt a sense of danger. In the age of terror-alerts that we live in many are on guard and even on edge. Footage of the incident shows Carey driving frantically maybe even erratically from the scene. With police in hot pursuit, the vehicle ended up crashing outside a Capitol security gate.

We’re told no weapons were found in the vehicle. Actually, her 1-year old daughter was rescued after the gun-fire and police chase ended. Carey was clearly no threat to authorities. Her sisters say she was suffering from postpartum depression. So they’re wondering why things had to end in such a violent way.

Some experts feel that our system is not setup to effectively handle mental health issues. This might even carry-over into our gun reform debate and the associated stigmas. While Carey might have been dealing with depression, others are dealing with post-war, post-recession and post-incarceration blues.

Does the system provide enough public awareness on the faces & facets of mental illness? We provide training for army recruits on handling a weapon. We see lots of books and movies about managing relationship issues. Maybe it’s time the community ups its game in serving those handling other stresses.

Footnote: Stigmas associated mental illness can affect some people similar to how biases affect others. They feel like an outsider or even worst sometimes as an outcast.