As the Packers and Seahawks prepare to square off in a game with slightly more on the line than their early-season Monday night meeting in 2012, the fumes of that bizarre evening still linger like Limburger for Green Bay fans.
It was the Fail Mary game. The one that sparked the end of the officiating lockout. The one that gave the Seahawks a victory via last-second pass to the end zone and a blatant shove by receiver Golden Tate, who caught the ball to secure the win.
More than two years later, the referee from that game is still affected by it.
“I was completely under attack,” Lance Easley told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports in a series of interviews regarding the moment and the aftermath. Easley, who had previously battled depression, has had the illness spike in the past year or so as he tries to get past that one huge blunder on a national stage that resulted in widespread criticism, ridicule, and even death threats.
Easley explained that he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he has suffered panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, fear of leaving the house, and debilitating depression.
“A lot of people don’t understand mental health issues,” Easley told Wetzel. And Easley is right. Mental illness is no different than physical illness, but it nevertheless carries a stigma among the millions who never have had to deal with it.
“If you don’t struggle with it, I guarantee you there is someone in your circle of family or friends that are affected by it,” Easley said. “It knows no boundaries. Young, old, white, black, male, female. We know what people think, ‘You’re just lazy, you’re just making excuses.’
“Believe me, we all wish we could just flip a switch.”
Here’s hoping Easley and everyone else suffering from mental illness finds the switch, eventually. And here’s hoping that the NFL will never again believe that it’s a good idea to keep playing games without the best of the best officials available to preside over them.