Personal issue becomes reality TV for NFL running back

by DOM PUENTE//Staff Writer

DOM SPORTS OP

Eddie Lacy has continued to receive negative remarks for his weight issues that have become public throughout past seasons.

The former running back for the Green Bay Packers faced criticism for the weight gained the past three seasons. Although he did have two 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the Packers, many critics and fans pointed out that the down fall of his production has been his weight.

While Lacy made the point that he understands the argument that his past coaches and followers made, he reminds his followers in an ESPN article written by Kevin Van Valkenburg that he isn’t ignoring the fact that the low production may be due to his weight.

But in the article, Lacy presents the point that he is only human. I related to this problem Lacy is facing because I understand the frustration of controlling weight issues.

The sports world creates the persona of being a finely-tuned performance machine, when all athletes are actually human and face different issues behind closed doors.

I sympathize with Lacy, because it can be hard controlling weight loss and gain. Tons of people and athletes deal with this type of situation, but the lime light is never cast upon those other athletes because they are over or under weight.

I understand that it is in any team’s best interest to correct any problems in order to get better. But when a head coach and organization such as Green Bay specifically say it is a player’s weight and continues to address it in such a manner, that can be demoralizing for a person.

As a normal non-professional athlete, I would be embarrassed and over-whelmed with the thought of everyone who has social media can continuously make negative comments about my weight or a personal problem I am facing.

Lacy makes that point in the article, mentioning the countless notifications he has received being called “fat” or being body shamed. His weight has been made a focal point of game-day discussions when he steps onto the field on Sundays for his new team, the Seattle Seahawks.

After stepping away from the Packers last season, Lacy felt that things would look up after moving to Seattle. However, I am disappointed with the Seahawks organization for the way they are handling Lacy’s weight problem.

They Seahawks had come to an agreement with Lacy that allows Seattle periodical weigh-ins to keep his weight in check throughout the season. If it was acceptable, Lacy would receive a bonus. However, if he failed, Lacy would see less playing time until his weight was under control.

I can agree with this type of deal if it was kept within the organization. But instead of keeping it in the “house,” the Seahawks and Lacy’s agent openly post updates after he walks off the scale. Lacy says he had presumed that the weigh-ins would stay private, but the organization had other plans.

By having public weigh-ins, it only brings more negativity to an athlete who already is receiving endless amounts of criticism from everyone who has the ability to talk about it on a social networking level.

I see society perceiving professional athletes as having “god-like” abilities when it comes to training, performing, and achieving what we call greatness in the sports world. Yet we don’t notice the flaws of performing at these levels, such as injuries, long-term damage to bodies from playing for years, and, at times, mental wear on athletes.

Sports enthusiasts, do not hear about athletes going through difficult times in their lives, whether it be physical or mental issues until they are past their prime or retired.

For Lacy, he is constantly facing demons night and day because his weight has been made the focal point of his career in the NFL. He achieved great things at Alabama in his college career, which should be an example when future teams are curious about what Lacy can bring to them.

Instead of finding more reasonable solutions to handle Lacy and his weight issues, the Seahawks are publicizing his weigh-ins as if it is reality TV.

At the end of the day, Lacy is one man, one athlete, one human being, who has emotions, feelings, and personal problems he has to deal with each day. Continuing to talk about Lacy and his weight as a casual topic on Sunday mornings, or as a segment on “Sportscenter,” or even as a simple negative post on social media, can take a toll on a person mentally, no matter the status of the individual.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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