The NFL announced Monday that Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant has been suspended for a minimum of one year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
In response to the ban, Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said the Steelers are “very disappointed” with Bryant for his suspension.
The message apparently did not sit well with Brandon Marshall.
The New York Jets wide receiver responded to the Steelers on Twitter, writing “I think the emotion regarding Martavis is “Sad” not “Disappointed.” He’s struggling with depression/substance abuse issues.”
Marshall followed it up with the message, “Time to change our approach #MindOverMatter.”
Bryant served a four-game suspension at the start of the 2015 season for violating the league policy. His agent, Bryan Fettner, told USA Today that Bryant will check into rehab and undergo evaluation for depression issues.
Fettner said, “His isn’t a party issue. It’s a coping issue and a depression issue, and he’s got to take care of it. This is the biggest cry for help I’ve ever seen.”
Marshall has been a vocal activist for mental health awareness. In 2011, he revealed that he had been diagnosed and treated for borderline personality disorder after several off-the-field incidents nearly derailed his football career. The treatment, Marshall says, saved his life.
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He was recently joined by All-Pro RB Arian Foster for an open discussion announcing Foster’s partnership with Project 375, a non-profit organization started by Marshall dedicated to eradicating the stigma of mental health disorders.
Foster, who received treatment for mental health issues, said he knew he needed help but was reluctant to seek it because of the stigma surrounding the disease.
“It just got to a point where I just threw my hands and I was like: ‘This is going to kill me,'” Foster said. “So I went and got help and it was the best decision I ever made.”
In his statement, Colbert said the Steelers “are hopeful that Martavis will take the necessary steps to develop the discipline in his personal life to become a successful player and a good teammate.”
Here’s hoping Bryant gets the help he deserves. Perhaps a connection with Marshall and Foster could be part of the plan.