It was the “double doink” heard around the NFL.
In actuality, it turned out to be a “triple doink.”
A kick off the foot of Chicago’s Cody Parkey that hit the upright, dropped and bounced outward off the cross bar and fell onto the cold ground of Soldier Field.
It was only a few minutes later, through instant replay, we came to realize the Bears’ fateful kick first deflected off the finger of a Philadelphia Eagles player.
Yet there were those not willing to wait for that piece of information.
Parkey’s missed field goal attempt made him the target for blame. As he had missed eight kicks for the season, including this one, it made him fair game for those asking for him to be cut immediately.
However, it took all but 15 minutes for my Twitter timeline to then include what looked to be some mid-20s-year-old man walking out of the stadium making a selfie video swearing and threatening Parkey for his miss.
He wasn’t the only one.
There were comments on the social media post wishing death to Parkey and his family. One man wished him an incurable disease. Another ran a poll question: “Kill Cody Parkey?”
“Yes” won with 74 percent of the vote.
There’s part of me that should be shocked by this type of insane thinking. Fan is short for “fanatic.” Sadly, this seems to become an all-too-familiar story in sports “[Athlete] receives death threats after: missing a field goal try, losing a fumble on the final drive or giving up the winning run.
Lighten up McElroy, nobody’s killed anybody over this.
Ask teammates of former Angels pitcher Donnie Moore, who battled many demons in life including the inability to shake the memory of giving up a game-changing home run to Dave Henderson of the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 ALCS. For three seasons afterward, Moore would battle injuries and the decline of his career, yet many close to him said he never recovered from that October day including July 18, 1989 when he walked into his home and shot his wife three times before killing himself at age 35.
Suicide has become discussed more in sports circles in connection with former NFL players and CTE. Examples are Junior Seau, Ray Easterling and Andre Waters. However, in a credit to their personal strength, NBA stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have opened up publicly in the past year about their own mental health issues, the need for more treatment in America and the stigma that goes with both.
What’s this have to do with Parkey missing a field goal attempt?
As Love wrote in the Players Tribune, “Everyone is going through something.”
You don’t know their whole story just as they don’t know yours.
Too often we sit at home thinking we know our favorite athletes or actors. It’s why we are shocked at a celebrity’s death. Why would they kill themselves? Why would they do that when they have all the looks, money and fame?
It’s quite a convenient retort that an athlete will be fine in the heat of criticism because “he has a mansion and millions to go home to at night.”
Money doesn’t always bring happiness. Just ask the late comedian Robin Williams.
There was part of me Monday that hoped Parkey could sleep a little better knowing the kick was tipped. It still doesn’t mean the play just goes away.
Bill Buckner once told me that it took decades to get over the backlash of his error in the 1986 World Series but eventually realized that he just had to “Let [expletive] go. Life has to move on.”
For some, life does move on. For some, it takes more than 20 years.
For others, it never does especially now when anybody’s worst moments can be dug up in 10 seconds on YouTube.
lmagine your most embarrassing moment in life on display in front of thousands judging you in person and millions watching at home. Then at your lowest, having even one person telling you to kill yourself?
Remember that the next time you’re ready to unload a Tweet telling a kicker to die for a missed field goal attempt or your college’s quarterback should drop out and never walk on campus again after throwing an interception to end the game.
“Everyone is going through something.”
As a fan, be fiery, be mad at a guy making a blunder. If your team puts up a stinker, reign down a few boos or rip them on a talk show. But in the end, as a fan, we aren’t losing our jobs nor is anyone taking food away from our kids if our team loses.
This is sports. It’s a passion.
It’s not life or death.
Don’t make it about it.