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Mailbag: Vince Young edition

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

I packaged all the Vince Young stuff together here so you can skip right past this post if that's your preference.

Lynn in Nashville writes: Hey, Paul, I sent this to the guys at the Zone Friday Morning, but don't think they recieved it because they were on location. I'd be interested on your take, too. This issue with Vince has brouht up an issue for me that I don't think gets discussed enough---rookie salary caps. As a fan, I'm tired of watching these guys who've never proved anything on the field gettin paid the way the are. In my opinion, it's creating an entitlement and prima dona attitude in these rookies. Leniert, Bush, and Young (those are the ones i can name off the top of my head) haven't earned what they were paid and maybe if they'd had to work for the big contract they'd been in a different place right now. I don't watch the NBA but I believe this is the one thing they've gotten right. Why isn't the NFL pushing this? If I was a veteran I'd be demanding it. Thanks, Lynn

Paul Kuharsky: The commissioner and many owners are pushing it. But it has to be negotiated/ addressed as part of new CBA.


Unknown from New Rochelle writes: Regarding the Vince Young situation, I am just wondering how something as confidential as a conversation between a therapist and a patient became public information. Surely, somone has breached something and this, in my mind, is shameful...!

Paul Kuharsky: Police reports are public information and according to the report, which we know had at least two factual errors in it, Jeff Fisher relayed information to police that someone had relayed to him.


Tom in Nashville writes: Paul, Simple question: Is there such a thing as media ethics in sports journalism? Is it worth crippling an athlete's career and public life for the sake of the readers? I suppose a storyline is a storyline, good or tragic, and if a story exists, the masses will hear. The coverage, it seems, has surpassed the boundaries of common decency.

Paul Kuharsky: Nashville Metro police spent a four-hour block of a night on the lookout for Vince Young. How is it indecent to report on that? It's a public entity, funded by my taxes and yours. Aren't we entitled to know how those resources are used and to judge whether we feel their use was or was not appropriate? What if you had a relative in an emergency situation and the police were slow to get to him because they were looking for the quarterback?

Of course there are ethics. Of course I've been sensitive to what's going on with Young and I feel badly for him over a degree of it. But it cannot all be a secret once public authorities are involved. You prefer a cover-up?

We've crippled his career? That strikes me as an accountability issue that is at the very core of all this debate. He's crippled his career. I didn't refuse to re-enter the game. I didn't stand up in front of the media and say, 'You know me, I'm a good guy' as if that would make everything fine. My mom didn't say you need to be gentle with my precious baby boy. I didn't say 'I'm dealing with an injury for the first time and it's hard' when I, in fact, missed games last year hurt. I didn't say 'I've never been booed before' when I, in fact, was booed early in my career at Texas when people thought I should be moved to WR.

You want me to be accountable and I strive to be. Why do you not hold him to the same standard?


Garo in Decaturville TN writes: You mentioned that Vince Young's response to the media today was not good enough for you. What exactly would you have liked him to say? He sounded more "sure" in the audio clip than I have heard him in months. Just curious as to what you didn't like about it and also what you would've done if you were him. Thanks.

Paul Kuharsky: I would like him to be accountable like every other guy in the locker room is expected to be.

"I do this for the kids," and "You guys know me, I'm a good guy?" C'mon.

He said people were at his house so he couldn't go get the MRI the day after the game as he was instructed. Try that out next time your boss tells you to do something.

Have you ever heard him say "my bad?" Or take the blame for anything from a pick to a sideline tantrum to scaring those close to him by carrying a gun around after allegedly talking about suicide?


Sam in Houston writes: Hi Paul - love the column. I'm one of those Texas Nashville Tennessean fans. I must offer one side of the debate in this Vince Young issue. I'm admittedly a huge VY fan, but I am as concerned about recent events as anyone. My point to throw in the debate - to whoever you may know to help spur some real discussion as opposed to just 'smearing' Vince is the following. Many of our athletes in this day and age have serious stresses, depression, etc. However, a lot of them choose to externalize these emotions in bad ways such as drugs, alcohol, aggression, or other poor behavior. All Vince Young is guilty of is showing his emotion. He hates letting himself and his city down(as any UT fan can attest to). It's 100% true that he's a guy who may not speak well and thus may not express his words as he feels, but one thing is for sure and that's that he is a standup guy who holds himself to a very high level. Many QBs in the league(see David Carr) are never unhappy. He was a guy who could throw 4 interceptions and be joking on the radio the next morning. Vince would be so upset that he wouldn't talk to anyone. I'd personally prefer the latter. Also, a word on showing emotion. I read some comment on the Tennessean by a reader saying that our troops overseas go through a lot more and deal with it better. I work currently in the Veterans Affairs Hospital in the Mental Health area. There is one certainty, and that is that the troops who are more expressive(few and far between) tend to have less psychological problems. I have seen too many soldiers to count come in and say "that's just not the way it was done, you don't talk about it, you don't get down about it" and the end result is some serious mental health problem. We live in a society where a man still has to be shameful for showing emotion. Vince Young showed his emotions to millions of people, and they are penalizing him for it. We all have our struggles. No one should feel sorry for him, as he has more money than many of us can imagine. But to say that you are a "better" person than he is because you don't cry, get down, or show emotion is absolutely insane.

Paul Kuharsky: I don't understand what makes him a stand-up guy. Being a stand-up guy doesn't just mean physically standing up in front of notebooks, recorders and cameras.

If I am emotional as a person, do you want to see it in my work? Do you want me to constantly tell you and show you in my work how emotional I am? Or would you like to see me keep it in balance?

Being a competitor is not an excuse for everything. There are a lot of NFL quarterbacks who are a lot better competitors and more effective competitors than VY and they don't use it as a blanket excuse when they hit a bump in the road.

I'm not asking him to swallow it. I'm asking him, after three years, to show he has any interest in learning how to deal with it in a way that affects his work less.

I never said I am a better person than him or that I wanted to be in the spotlight that shines on him. And I don't think that's what most critics are saying. We're saying, 'Maybe it's time to be more accountable for your actions.'


DC in Orlando writes: I first want to say I enjoyed reading your work in The Tennessean. I am originally from Hendersonville. I also want to thank you for pointing out Jason Whitlock's piece on Young. Finally, would like to know your opinion on the Titans with Collins at the helm and if you think Young will ever make it back.

Paul Kuharsky: I appreciate the kind words. You can now find my work at ESPN.com, of course.

I certainly don't think Young has played his last game for the Titans. But if things break well for the team, it won't be soon.