Kudos to Nestor Ramos (“In Josh Gordon case, a troubled league fails a troubled man,” BostonGlobe.com, Dec. 22) for calling out the disgusting hypocrisy of the NFL. More troubling in the response to Josh Gordon’s struggle with a serious disease, is their complicity in demonizing mental illness vs. treating it like the illness it is.
If Gordon were taking medication for any physical ailment, the league would not blink. They don’t seem to have any trouble addressing the symptoms of physical pain that their players have to live with (drugs are certainly part of that). But their neanderthal and dangerous response to Gordon’s actions not only hurt him but hurt the many who suffer with a devastating and difficult-to-treat condition.
It is time mental illness and substance use disorder be treated like any physical health condition. The NFL knows better. Given the power and voice they have in our society, their irresponsible actions and ineffective rules for those who struggle to find relief just perpetuate the notion so many have: These folks aren’t really sick, they’re just weak. They should buck up and just get over it.
Yet again, the NFL should be ashamed. If only they cared.
The writer is a state senator for the Fourth Middlesex District and is Senate chair for the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery.