Why Vince Young’s Blow Up Will Shorten His NFL Career…

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(ThyBlackMan.com) I read with great concern about the plight of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. This week, Young stormed out of the stadium after getting into a heated argument with Titans coach Jeff Fisher, which is an absolute no-no. He even tossed his shoulder pads into the stands on his way out.

Bad move Vince, your days are numbered.

Young has been excused from team meetings and has been placed on injured reserve. At this point, it is unclear what the team plans to do with him.

You can effectively tell Vince Young to write the words “Dead quarterback walking” on his forehead. Such serious and public acts of blatant insubordination are rarely acceptable in any sports organization. Even the  biggest star can rarely get away with such a thing, because keeping all soldiers on the same page is of critical importance to the functioning of any sports team or military group. Young’s behavior undermines the authority of those in charge, and bolsters those who may have their own problems with Titans coaches.

With that said, let me explain why I’ve always been concerned about Vince Young. Years ago, Vince appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. In the headline, were the words, “I was born to play quarterback for the University of Texas.” It was at that moment that I knew this man was in for a difficult life.

Like so many other young black male athletes, Vince Young defined himself as a football player and almost nothing more. He went on to become a dominant player for the University of Texas, where he, like many other NCAA athletes, did not receive an adequate education. He left school without his degree, and went into the NFL draft.

Since that time, Young has been in the news as much for his problems as he has for his play. He was arrested in a night club after getting into a fight with one of the patrons earlier this year. He suffered a serious bout of depression after losing his starting position and seeing fans boo him on the field. The happy ending for Young may never come to be, for I truly wonder if his worst years are ahead of him.

What’s saddest about Vince Young and the legions of other young black men who think that they are only meant to be athletes is that it doesn’t have to be this way. It takes far less effort to excel in the classroom than it does to excel on the athletic field. Additionally, the rewards from being an educated black man are far deeper, richer and permanent than that which comes from dunking a basketball for a few years and going back to a minimum wage job. This is not to discredit the men who show their athletic prowess, but to say that we’ve got to find a better model for personal choices and outcomes.

Mark my words: Vincent Young won’t be a starter in the NFL in 3 – 5 years. In fact, I’m leaning toward the lower number, even though Young is….well…..a young guy. At 27 years old, he’s at his physical peak and would normally have another decade left to play. I fully expect that like so many black athletes before him, he will self-destruct under the weight of his own ego. He will also find himself blackballed from other teams that might consider signing him. Also, like so many other men before him, he will amass a pile of financial obligations that come with earning millions of dollars per year, but will then be forced to maintain these obligations with a much lower, post-athletic income. That’s typically the long-term recipe for black athlete disaster.

I truly feel sorry for Vince.

Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins