“Street People-In Society-In NFL”
They once had families. They once had jobs. They once had fame. Now they have nothing.
They’re everywhere across America, in every city, “street people”, homeless for a wide variety of reasons.
Substance abuse, loss of income and family, and mentally ill. Everywhere, including the NFL, with names you’d recognize.
In South Carolina, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the massive star defensive tackle of the 1980s Chicago Bears, wakes up this morning in a senior care facility.
He has given up on life, taken everything he can out of it. He is broke, he is ill, he has left his family, he is almost a ward of the state. He weighs 430-pounds, has diabetes, heart issues, obesity, and doesn’t really care any longer.
In Los Angeles, Titus Young, a former star receiver at Boise State, and then with the Detroit Lions, has been in and out of psychiatric centers for treatment of Bipolar disorder, brought on by concussions. He’s been arrested seven different times, sentenced to jail time, and transferred back and forth to facilities in Southern California. Without medication and direction, he is a lose and troubled soul.
In Florida, last week’s arrest of former Raiders-Broncos-Chiefs tight end Richard Gordon was alarming. Police got to him before he got to a strip bar, where his intent was to take his AR-15 assault weapon and 2-magazine loads of armaments into a strip bar to retaliate for a fight he had been involved in the night before. He was to be arrested for a 4th incident of domestic abuse. 3-times detained by the Baker Act, he was released back on the streets three times.
Davonne Bess, ex-Hawaii star receiver, a former Dolphin and Lion, arrested again, borderline psychotic and schizophrenic after continued incidents. The latest, flashing a knife at a police officer, making out as if he was about to pull a gun, barricading himself in his car and his home, before SWAT teams went in and got him.
Stanley Wilson, ex-Lions DB, and the son of former drug troubled Bengals running back Stanley Wilson. The son shot late last week, breaking into a house in Portland,while totally naked. Now reports, he tried to enter four different houses at all hours of the day, mumbling to himself and to occupants.
Lawrence Phillips, now buried in a pauper’s cemetery, his life snuffed out when he hung himself in a prison cell, while facing the death penalty for killing a cellmate last year. Philips, with a history of mental issues and domestic abuse cases, was in prison for 31-years on felony assault charges. Solitary could not keep him from ending his life.
Johnny Manziel, in a lifetime downward spiral cluster of incidents. Drugs, alcohol binges, auto accident, house vandalism and domestic abuse, with his father going public this week saying he was giving up trying to save his troubled son.
There are no answers to the mentally ill. They’re on the streets everywhere. Drive down Imperial Avenue, just beyond Petco Park. While the Padres players are parking their SUVs, Mercedes and Cadillac’s in the garage, the homeless and the ill are parking their shopping cars waiting to be fed at a soup kitchen. They wander the streets all hours day and night, not knowing where they are, and sometimes who they are.
The NFL list of those in trouble is no different than the who’s-who, who is on the street in Anytown, USA. Except we know the former players, because they performed for us on any given Sunday in our stadiums and on our televisions.