After watching Shawn Andrews' soul-searching press conference yesterday and the attendant coverage thereof, I'm not ashamed to admit that I had a few moments of reflection myself. Not just about Shawn and what he's been dealing with, but also my role in the whole affair. Still, if Shawn can man up and talk about his issues, then certainly I can as well.
With apologies to the very excellent Bleeding Green Nation, I'd like to step forward and admit my role in this little drama. Those leaks to the press and the blogs that Shawn was talking about? The outrageous rumors coming from Shawn himself? Yeah, that was me. The Bounty. And it's time to own up to it.
I guess I first knew something wasn't right with Shawn about a month and a half ago. We were playing Scrabulous (as an aside, Shawn really enjoyed him some Scrabulous, and we can't discount the impact of its removal on Shawn's mental state) and he sent me a Scrabulous chat message indicating that he'd been spending a lot of time thinking lately. I didn't think much of it, but resigned to keep an extra-careful eye out on Shawn's status updates in the coming weeks.
If only I knew how bad it would get! Shawn was updating his Facebook status two, three times a day. Sure, it started innocently ("Shawn is feeling tired this afternoon," "Shawn is wondering what he wants to do with himself"), but pretty soon things started to get a little scarier ("Shawn can't believe the things they're saying on talk radio," "Shawn is sorry he isn't picking up his phone, but he really doesn't want to talk about football or see any of you ever again").
After leaving a few unanswered messages on his Wall, I decided that I need to be more direct. So I tried winking at him on SuperPoke. No response. Then I bought him a margarita. Nothing. Finally, I threw a sheep at him. Full stop. If he didn't have time to defenestrate or fling a thong at me in reply, I knew we had some real issues. But no, crickets. And he'd almost totally stopped updating his Twitter!
After a few more unreturned SuperPokes, I was close to giving up when I caught Shawn lurking on Google Chat. Now I knew I had him, so I reached out directly. Was he feeling good? Not so much. Did the team know the story? Not really. Was there anything I could do to help? And that's when I agreed to be his uncredited voice to the media. Seeding wild rumors didn't seem like the most prudent or mature way to deal with some tough times, but hey, who among us would say no to a friend?
And so it began. The anonymous message board posts. The awkward comments on obscure blogs. The late-night calls to WIP. The threatening letters to Tom Coughlin (seemed a bit off-topic, but if Shawn wanted it, I couldn't say no?). And finally my own "mock" Shawn Andrews post a few weeks back. In retrospect, I may have tipped my hand a bit with that one, but we thought it would be a clever way to throw suspicious parties off the case.
I wouldn't say I felt good about any of this, but I've never been one to ignore a friend in need. So you can imagine my relief when Shawn finally spoke to the press yesterday and shared the details of his struggles -- dirty laundry and all. And now that he's shared his story, I think we can all move forward together. Sure, it'll be a little tougher without Scrabulous, I always thought Shawn was cheating anyway.