FSU qb and Dave Matthews fan Wyatt Sexton spoke with the FSU coaching staff yesterday for the first time since he was Baker-Acted for his odd behavior on June 13th. The general diagnosis leaking from the FSU camp? Bipolar disorder, it seems, caused the qb's already frayed nerves to come unraveled following three days at the acid-soaked Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee, not drug use of any sort.
Sexton is also serving a second purpose: giving sportswriters an excuse for sanctimony and general huffiness!
Check Peter Kerasotis of the Orlando Sentinel for a prime slice of outrage-outrage, we say!- at the internet's creative needling of Sexton following his arrest: (Thanks to Fanopticon for the link.)
On one of them, there is a doctored photo of Sexton in his FSU football uniform, but instead of "SEXTON" stitched on the back of his jersey above his number, it says "GOD."
Another doctored photo shows Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling, with the finger of God touching Adam's finger. Except that now Adam is wearing an FSU jersey with Wyatt Sexton's No. 19.
Some message board posters casually refer to Sexton as a moron. Or worse.
And the jokes, they're all over the Internet. Mean-spirited and vile, many of them.
Yet, we still don't know what happened, and if mental illness is the culprit.
We admit that we're suffering outrage fatigue, but even if it's mental illness, we don't have to stop joking about it because mental illness can be funny, and with good reason: because losing your marbles is flat-out terrifying. Like alcoholism, war, death, and anything else scary, humor defuses the threat of something as pernicious as mental illness.
Dr. Strangelove: death, nuclear weapons, and Nazis...yet funny.
That's not what UF fans are doing, of course-they're taking the second cheapest of shots, which is why it's so funny to us a columnist stuck for ideas would waste his prissy breath telling us it's cheap and that we should be-here it comes!-outraged at the "viscious" attacks on Sexton! No-we shouldn't. We're smart enough to figure that out for ourselves, Sister Pete. We get outraged at a couple of things. First, unless you're our dear partner Stranko, we get pissed at people who don't spell check their work. Second, you don't have to tell us how to feel, and we're pissed at your arrogance in attempting to do just that. We've known plenty of people who've gone batshit crazy and recovered who have a wicked sense of humor about their episodes. They're like the most convincing and frightening addicts, the ones who tell their stories of addiction with the pride mountaineers exude when describing their tumble down a 5,000 foot precipice. We hope that if that's the case with Wyatt, the people around him will have the good sense to teach him to deal seriously with the situation, but not without the requisite amount of humor to comfort him in the process. And if it's drugs-heavens!-well, as a 20-year old who had a bad acid trip, he's got plenty of company, most of whom go on to have successful lives and careers.
(Anyone who's ever seen an interview with Steven Tyler, read Augusten Burroughs' Dry, or seen the extended interview with Rick James on the Chapelle's Show: Season 2 DVD knows exactly what we're talking about here. When Burroughs writes that he used to take handfuls of benadryl capsules to counter his body's hereditary allergy to alcohol, the power of addiction becomes more horrifically apparent; Burroughs was downing at least two bottles of bourbon a day at the same time. And no, he's not dead.)
And who's Peter Kerasotis to rush to Sexton's defense? He's the same sports-nanny who writes in cheap moral imperatives like "Ricky Williams needs to prove his love of the game." No weepy sympathy for Ricky in this case, even though Ricky's got a diagnosed personality disorder and a few other personal problems to boot. Kerasotis is the same guy who hectors the reader rather than asking interesting questions about the Sexton case. Like what, for example? Like these:
1. Why would it be so bad if Sexton had done drugs?
2. How much pressure on a 20-year old amateur athlete is too much?
3. What the hell is going on with FSU's qbs of late? (Plenty of good writers went that direction, btw.)
4. Is this yet another sign of an impending Bowden decline?
5. If Sexton is bipolar, then who are other athletes with the syndrome? How did they cope with it in the spotlight?
Kerasotis could have tried to call Alonzo Spellman, but that would have required actual work.
We beg to differ with Kerasotis on two more points. Gator fans didn't even create some of the Photoshops in question-many came from the Oklahoma Sooner board, who is to the art of sports Photoshopping what Florence was to Renaissance art. If he knew jack-shit about college boards he'd know that much, and we give the Oklahoma board the credit they deserve: they are truly masters of the form. And in addition to that sloppiness, he missed all of the questions above and went straight for the pulpit, which would be fine if this were Sunday and he were our pastor, our rabbi, or our priest, which he's not. Kerasotis took the cheapest shot of all: sanctimony. Fuck him for doing it.