I have never yet read anything about Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant since he has been drafted—or even before—that has portrayed him in such a light that would lead one to believe that he is in some way a bad person. I don’t expect that I will be reading such an article any time soon.
This is not one of those articles, but it is one that understands that you don’t have to be a bad person to make poor decisions. And obviously Bryant has made decisions bad enough to justify being suspended twice now, the first time for four games and now for an entire year, a suspension that even takes from him the offseason this time around.
If he’s not a bad person, then, how does he continue to put himself in these positions that have such significant repercussions on his life? Let’s keep in mind that Bryant is a two-year veteran as a former fourth-round pick. That may still be a lot of money for the average person, but speaking of professional athletes, he hasn’t made much yet, and has forfeited his 2016 salary because of the suspension.
When the news first surfaced of his most recent suspension, there also surfaced reports of unhappiness from certain parties regarding those with whom Bryant chooses to associate and socialize. His mother may have moved to be near him, but she can only watch him so much.
Among those with whom he chooses to associate is rapper Wiz Khalifa, part of whose claim to fame involves penning an anthem that attests to his love of the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh. Proof positive of their association is a recent article—unrelated to Bryant—in GQ that paints a concerning portrait about poor choices, qualifiers in the article notwithstanding.
The opening lines of the article describe a midnight-rising Khalifa rising from a fog of marijuana smoke, entering a room of his associates while seeming not to realize their presence, only to be promptly handed a joint.
And there is Bryant sitting on the couch, “stoically watching motocross”.
It is sort of difficult to believe the fable the article attempts to weave of the innocent athlete minding his own business in a room that plays host to a makeshift joint-rolling venture. It all sounds rather naïve in light of the fact that he has been suspended twice for failing or not reporting for a number of drug tests perhaps verging on double digits since entering the league less than two years ago.
These are the exact sorts of scenarios that Bryant must excuse himself from, no matter how strongly he wishes to mingle with such ‘stars’. Whatever sorts of crowds he may be gravitating toward when he is away from the team, and his family, unsupervised, are compromising his career.
Part of taking personal responsibility for your own actions is understanding your weaknesses and limitations. If you know that something that you enjoy doing risks being a negative influence on your decision-making, then it is incumbent upon you to be mature enough to avoid that situation. Bryant must find a way to cope with things in some other way, or give up on the NFL before it gives up on him.