Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. But like so many professional sports, it seems to have its fair share of tragedies. Perhaps due to the fast-paced lifestyle, exorbitant amounts of money and temptation that players encounter, and the extreme amount of pressure, players sometimes become addicted to drugs or alcohol. In Robert Smith’s case, he has opened up with his own battles with the bottle, during an interview on an ESPN show called First Take.
Not Your Typical NFL Star
Robert Smith was a running back who played professionally for the Minnesota Vikings. He also played college football at Ohio State University, where he first established that he wasn’t the typical football player. Unlike the jock stereotype of a college athlete who is more concerned with playing ball than academics, Robert Smith openly criticized the Ohio State University football staff for not letting him focus on his academics more. He eventually wanted to attend medical school, which showed an admirable amount of dedication to his future.
However, despite his dedication to his academics, and a career as a professional football player, he still had problems with long-term alcoholism. Signs of alcoholism include:
• Being unable to control how much you drink • Physical withdrawal after not drinking for a period of time • Drinking on a daily basis no matter what • Alcohol interfering with job or personal relationships
Appearance On ESPN Show
Now retired, forty one year old Robert Smith recently did a candid interview with the ESPN show First Take and detailed his problems with alcoholism while playing for the NFL. He says that the addiction has been ongoing, and something that he has struggled with for years.
He disclosed his own personal problems because of the recent issues active NFL player Aldon Smith has been having. Aldon Smith has recently been admitted to an inpatient facility to undergo treatments for alcoholism. At only twenty-three years of age, Aldon Smith has serious problems to address before he can return to playing football.
Like many other recovering alcoholics, Robert Smith pointed out that alcoholism is a mental disease. He says that people are born with the predisposition, but they are also born with the responsibility to overcome the predilection, so that they can fulfill the roles in their life they were meant to fill, such as being a husband and father.
Robert Smith traces the roots of his problem all the way back to his days playing at Ohio State University. The problem stayed with him even when he eventually graduated to playing in the big leagues of the NFL.
He says that every day living with alcoholism was absolutely miserable and it has to be addressed or a person can never lead a fulfilling life. Smith even admits that he is still an alcoholic and had to cope with a disruptive childhood, growing up with a father who was a drug-dealer.
Rebuilding His Life
Despite his struggles, Robert Smith cannot be considered anything less than a success story. Despite his father being a drug dealer, Smith went on to be a star college football player dedicated to his college studies. He went on to play for the NFL, and after retirement an ESPN sports commentator.
For someone as successful as Robert Smith to come forward with how much control alcohol still has over him is a testament to how hard of a disease it is to shake. He has channeled his energy into positive pursuits, continuing to seek a career in medicine and starting his own charity, to help provide financial support for cancer research. By being open about his own personal struggles, perhaps Robert Smith can help other young men address their own problems with alcohol.