Bernie Kosar needs help (UPDATE)

by Cleveland Frowns on December 6, 2012

If Bernie Kosar’s Twitter feed doesn’t bother you, nor any of a number of his recent radio appearances on ESPN Cleveland WKNR, you might be more convinced by the legendary Browns quarterback’s latest yesterday afternoon on WKNR’s “The Hooligans” in which he’s as obscenely drunk or otherwise as out of his mind as ever. How long will the station keep having him on for regular appearances before someone sees to it that he gets the help he needs? Not being able to keep it together for afternoon radio bits could well be the tip of the iceberg here.

UPDATE: Bernie unsuprisingly says he’s fine, and sadly says he’s “shocked” at the reaction to his Hooligans appearance.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    The conclusion keeps getting harder to escape: Football is stupid.

    • NeedsFoodBadly

      The question I often ask myself (and am very curious for other’s opinions) is: would I let my hypothetical kid play football?

      • bupalos

        Just have hypothetical girls. Problem solved.

        • Chris Mc

          Exception to the rule? Holley Mangold.

          • vespo09

            or Mo Isom.

        • NeedsFoodBadly

          But what if, hypothetically, I think girls should be able to play football if they want? it is a PARADOX.

          Oh well, I’ll just encourage my future kids to take up boxing.

      • technivore

        I solved the problem by having kids that are, like I was, too scrawny to even think about playing football.

      • Cranky M

        Never in a million years. The risk/reward ratio is absurdly imbalanced.

    • Ohiakotan

      Are you reaching this conclusion by determining that football caused the mess that Bernie has become? Football/brain trauma may be a factor, but my (limited) understanding is that there are a whole mess of other things going on with him; i.e. family, financial, etc. These types of issues lead to the disease of alcoholism (or drug addiction) in football players and ordinary persons, alike. I am not quite ready to vilify football for this.
      On the other hand, I cannot argue with you if you are reaching that conclusion because football is a game and many people think it is more important than Bernie’s, and others’, personal problems.

      • humboldt

        Clearly, Bernie’s problem is multi-factorial. But anyone who thinks head injuries aren’t playing a significant role in Bernie’s mental illness is frankly delusional.

        • Ohioakotan

          Serious question, what “mental illness” has he been diagnosed with? I am not trying to stir the pot, just trying to understand the situation. I am only aware of the addiction issues, which as Frowns points out, media outlets are afraid to mention. Also, you may call me ignorant for not knowing all the details of Bernie’s issues, but I do not think I was being “delusional” based on the limited knowledge I have about Bernie’s mental illness.

          • humboldt

            Sorry, I wasn’t referring to you as ignorant/delusional, and apologies if that’s what came across. My point was merely that anyone who outright denies head injuries as one contributing factor to Bernie’s complex problems simply has no grounds for this claim.

            As for the mental illness, I spelled out my best guess above to Bupalos, although it is always dangerous to diagnose from a distance.

        • bupalos

          I’m not sure about the head injury/mental ilness part, though it’s not unlikely, but I do know that like many other former NFLers the guy lives in pretty constant pain. I imagine he’s just trying to medicate.
          For this reason I kind of question the “hope he gets the help he needs” line. I’m not sure what kind of help we’re talking about. I think the help is coming out of the bottle, and I’m not entirely sure there’s something definitively better you could replace that with. Chronic pain is chronic pain.

          When I think about these kind of issues, yeah, it makes me question the sport and my enthusiasm for it… But even moreso I question the ownership and labor structure. The players ARE the sport. The players and the fans are the team. How is this something that is owned? How can you extract the profits and send them to somebody else and then toss these guys on the scrap heap to live in pain and probably die in late middle age? Much like questions of medical care, this kind of issue transcends capitalist economic theory, and forcing it into that frame creates a truly amoral result.

          The NFL should be conducted like the ancient Greek olympics where a former athlete is taken care of for life. Who is more responsible for the value of the “Cleveland Browns franchise,” Bernie Kosar?— or Art Model, Randy Lerner, and Jimmy Haslam rolled into one big money-ball? Yet this guy’s going to live in pain and die in a gutter, because he made a “fair exchange” of his “labor” with the “owner,” and now that transaction is all finished and everyone can go their separate ways with a clean conscience.

          It’s truly shameful.

          • humboldt

            Well said all the way around.

            In terms of the “help” Bernie needs, I’m always leery about diagnosing from afar, but he has the classic signs of depression, which is strongly associated with repetitive head injuries. His challenges with executive function – as evidenced in something like his failed business dealings, bankruptcy, domestic issues, etc – is also a red flag for some degree of cognitive decline, although all of those issues are more complicated than just having concussions.

            Many factors are contributing to his depression, and he is clearly resorting to self-medicating and has done so for a long time. I also infer that there is an intentionality to going on the air drunk – it is likely an attempt to get the community to reach out to him (we’ve all pretty much enabled things thus far…”it’s just Bernie”). In the context of Brady Quinn’s recent comments about Javon Belcher, this latest on-air debacle should be taken very seriously.

          • Steve White

            The players are the sport and the owners are the league. You don’t have football without both, and you don’t have a reason for the game without the fans.

            We’ve ‘known’ for a while that ex-players have significant health care issues, including depression, addiction and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (brain damage). Those issues have generally been kept under the radar by owners who feared damage to the league, media that just wanted to keep the merry-go-round going, players who wanted to play, and a public that enjoyed a sport and didn’t want to think about (and take on guilt about) what happened to the players as a result. That looks to be changing some, and that would be good.

            The league should fund pensions better; players should have some enforced mechanism for putting some of their money away; both should find a way to keep the sharks away from the ex-players; and both should support and fund ways to make the game a little safer. Otherwise you really do have a situation in which the ‘transaction’ leaves the player holding the dirty end of the stick.

            Long-term that’s a problem and here’s why: parents will discourage their young boys from playing the game. That will translate into less enthusiasm for the sport over time. We’ll start to see lawsuits in which players allege that their injuries were caused by a negligent league. Sure, that’s a messy argument but it only takes one jury to find in their favor to open the spigot. Don’t stop with the NFL, either — wait until the NCAA is sued for contributing their share to the problem (five years of practice and games, after all). How about the high schools? You can see where this will end.

            Failing to address the problem, when we know a good part of what the problem is, is the shameful part.

          • jimkanicki

            yes. the nfl has known about the issue since a study in 2005. the clinical data showed a 19x higher rate of memory problems among nfl players. i put something together on this after the harrison/cribbs hit two years ago. it’s still relevant because it’s still a ‘legal hit’ because ‘cribbs has the ball.’ which is to say that the rules in place and contemplated (eliminating kickoffs) are window dressing.

            fwiw, the last CBA includes funding for research and (per wiki) a billion dollars set aside for retired player benefits. didn’t help mike webster but it’s a start moving forward.

  • ChuckKoz

    Broncos -10.5 (raiders)

  • ChuckKoz

    And jesus, that was really sad to hear Bernie like that

    • NeedsFoodBadly

      That’s one of the more difficult things I’ve ever tried to listen to.

    • SteamingPileOfCraphonsoThorpe

      100% agree. I am in my late 30’s, so Bernie was a childhood hero and it’s painful to see/hear him self-destructing like this. Good reminder to make it clear to our kids (go ahead and have hypothetical conversations with hypothetical kids so it will be easier when they’re real) that we cheer our sports “heroes” for their athletic achievement, but they are just as frail and human as the rest of us, and in many cases, even more than us. And making any person a “hero” is perilous because of the near certainty they will disappoint the hell out of us one day.

      Plus, how much of whatever substance he put in his body had he consumed by, what, 5 p.m.? On the rare occasions when I get my drunk on to that extent, I’m not sounding like that until the wee hours of the morning. Exceedingly sad.

  • humboldt

    It almost feels like Bernie is asking for help on these public forums (i.e. radio/Twitter) without being explicit about it. Poor guy.

  • Brian Sipe

    I agree…. I heard him on WKNR last week and was yelling at my radio get him off the air. I think Rizzo looks up to him as the “cool guy” in the room and no one wants to be the one to tell him to straighten up. Unless they think they are doing him a favor by keeping him on air?! It is a car wreck we keep watching over and over. Have Brian Sipe on instead.

  • Brian Sipe

    it is not just concussions… I know a couple people who know Bernie and he has a bit of a drinking problem according to them…. and this is from people who really like him a lot….



  • GrandRapidsRustlers

    If it was just booze would we not have at least a few relatively sober moments?

    It’s just sad and the guy clearly needs help…and there is no way in hell I am letting my son play football. You can call me all the names you want but I just don’t see how it’s worth it.

  • BIKI024

    Bernie had a bit of a gambling problem too didn’t he? Maybe he should join the thousands of Ohioans who are seeking help for their gambling habits now that Ohio has so many options for our degenerates:

  • dwhalen5

    i know bernie well. the issues aren’t as cut and dry as everyone wants to believe. i’m not gonna get into it, but i’ve spent plenty of time around him and it’s a combination of a lot of things. a lot going on. much of which has nothing to do with head injuries. some of it does, most of it is derived elsewhere. that’s all.

    • bupalos

      My thought with absolutely no inside information would be that most of the life circumstances of a longtime NFL football player are probably dominated by the fact that they played NFL football. Physical, mental, financial, social, parental, etc.

      • jimkanicki

        but addictive personality tendencies are not necessarily football related. from afar, this seems in play.

  • Brian Sipe

    Just heard Rizz do 15 minutes on “there is nothing wrong with Bernie” “Bernie was not drunk and has never been a big drinker” PR in full force for Bernie from guys who want to be loved by Bernie

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