A lot has been made about Andrew Luck’s retirement. Everyone has an opinion on whether or not he made the right decision.
Luck’s counterparts, former coaches, fans and media members have all weighed in. So naturally, it makes all the sense in the world to throw my thoughts into the discussion.
Here’s why Andrew Luck made the right decision, and more importantly, why anyone bashing his choice to leave the game (looking at you, Doug Gottlieb) needs to back off.
I’m not usually one to promote the idea that “if you haven’t done X, you don’t get to have an opinion on it.” In this case, however, I feel a little bit differently. Honestly, it’s not that opinions from the Gottliebs of the world aren’t allowed. It’s just that they’re uninformed. If you’ve never strapped on a helmet and pads, spent hours upon hours for weeks on end getting pounded into turf by 300-plus pound super athletes, rested and rehabbed broken bones and injured organs, then done it all over again seven days later, you can’t possibly understand the physical, mental, and emotional toll the last six years took on Luck.
I’ll admit: I, like Gottlieb and countless others with an opinion on Luck, haven’t done any of those virtually superhuman things. In fact, I got into sports radio because I wanted to be close to the activities I knew I never had a chance of playing past middle school. Because of that, all I can do is try to relate in a way that is relevant to my life. After a few days worth of thought, here’s the closest comparison I could come up with.
Radio is an industry where mental stress is a daily obstacle. It may seem easy to sit around and talk sports for three hours at a time, but let me assure you, it’s not. There are hours upon hours of preparation that goes into one show, let alone five per week. The research never stops, it’s a constant race to find new stories and compelling angles, and every minute of every day there are 30 other radio stations in the market (at least) vying for the same sets of ears you are. Nights are short and deadlines are always tight.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade what I do for the world, but it’s taxing. The mental and emotional strain can be devastating. I’ve seen multiple people in the industry lose their friends, their families, and to a certain degree their sanity for their job. Plenty of others that I know personally have flamed out, too beaten down and mentally fried to enjoy the work anymore. And still, it doesn’t fully compare to what Luck and every other NFL athlete has to go through, so I get it.
I’m sure most of the kick-back directed towards Luck stems from the fact that he made multiple millions of dollars playing a game. Sure, but his salary has nothing to do with this conversation. No amount of money is worth not being able to get out of bed in the morning, walk around the house or play with your kids. I’d like to think we can all relate to that.
The fact is, Andrew Luck made a decision to live a normal life again and stepped away from the job he once loved the moment that love was lost. Isn’t that the dream? What he did wasn’t soft, it was smart. And it’s the exact same decision 99 percent of people would make whether you want to admit it or not.
If you think what Andrew Luck did was wrong, fine. You’re entitled to your opinion. Just make sure the next time things get tough at your job, in your marriage or with your life in general, you don’t take the “easy way out” and just move on to something you’d enjoy more. That would make you a hypocrite.