As you've probably heard already, Ryan Leaf was arrested again on Friday in his hometown of Great Falls, Montana. After everything Leaf has been through, especially in the last 4-5 years, this arrest of course sparked a lot of conversations and opinions.
There were the rational, the supportive, the irrational and then of course there was the scum of the earth.
I'm going to discuss some of these reactions and also my position on the whole subject, simply because this is the best way I know how to handle something like this. I'm a writer, when something hits close to home the best way to deal with it is to write, so here it goes.
Ryan Leaf has experienced a lot, from the highest highs to the lowest lows; Friday was unfortunately one of those lows and hearing the news hit me hard. Leaf is one of our own and to hear that he slipped up and possibly fell back into what got him into so much trouble years ago made me incredibly sad.
It goes beyond him being a Coug, Leaf is a human being and whenever something like this happens to another person it's sad. Addiction is serious and I'm not sure anyone out there can fully understand that until they've dealt with it themselves or had someone close to them deal with it.
The strongest person in the world can fall victim to addiction, it's a sickness and not something you can just "get over." A good majority of the time people who have had serious addictions in their pasts relapse, and it appears that's what happened with Leaf.
That being said, now more than ever he needs support. He needs support from his family and friends, he needs support from Cougar Nation and he needs support from basically everyone.
It's become apparent to me, however, many are not willing to give that support, and that sickens me.
This goes beyond school rivalries, it goes beyond sports and it goes beyond your stance on drugs. The bottom line is we have another person here in a serious time of need, and to turn your back on him or kick while he's down is unforgivable.
Put yourself in his position for a moment. Yes, he has made mistakes and yes, he appeared to have done his best to correct those mistakes only to fail again. So what? Supporting him in whatever way you can is not an endorsement for drug use; helping another person in their time of need is not condoning their past behaviors, it is simply trying to get them back to a good place and having hope they can fix themselves this time.
It's all about hope. I consider myself a realist and lots of times that makes me come off as a pessimist, so you would expect me to say here that "people don't change." Bullshit.
People can and do change, I've witnessed it. All I can do is give Ryan my full support and hope everything turns out alright in the end because I think he's a good person in a shitty situation.
One person attacked me, and others, on Twitter tonight for supporting Leaf and boy did that bother me. You can not compare this situation to the Venoy Overton or Ted Bundy situations, they are absolutely different and to say their the same is incredibly ignorant. Rape and murder are not on the same level as a personal struggle such as addiction.
At this point I'm only rambling and should probably wrap this up. I hope this all makes sense and I hope you all can find it in you to support Ryan in this trying time; I'm sure you all will.
Once a Coug, always a Coug. We love ya, Ryan, and we all have your back. Get well soon, we only want the best for you.