"Just heard that I'm about to be unemployed. I just want to personally and humbly thank the city of St. Louis again for all your support over 8 years. I love y'all so much for sticking with me through the ups and downs. I also want to thank our LA fans, and although I may never join you in SoCal, just know that I'll always appreciate you. Bottom line is- this is a production business. No excuses, the last two years have been shit. It's been painful to experience because I care deeply about my performance and my responsibility to my teammates. Before the last two years I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish in St. Louis. I'm not surprised, but it doesn't make it any easier to leave your family. I look forward to the next chapter. Hungry and a lot to prove all over again. First I'm gonna have a beer. Wishing it shook out differently but eternally grateful, C Long"
I can't say I know too much about Chris Long as a person -or even a player for that matter- but I can now say that I am a fan. Yup, that's right, all it took was one shamelessly open, brutally honest Instagram post for me to like the guy. That really speaks to how poorly a majority of players handle getting unexpectedly traded or cut. I don't blame them. These guys have limited career windows, and I am sure being left unemployed in the fickle field of professional athletics can be stressful to say the least. With that said, you have to give credit where credit is due. Honesty might not always be the policy, but it certainly worked to perfection here. How can you not feel for Chris Long when he puts his heart into a social media caption like that?
As sports fan we are quick to judge a player's intentions when they aren't playing their best. Maybe we assume they are happy collecting a paycheck or -ironically- that they don't care as much about the outcome as we do. Well, Chris Long refusing to let people think that his last two, relatively unsuccessful, seasons haven't weighed on his conscious is actual the type of thing more athletes should do if they want a little sympathy when they stink. Sometimes this is all we need to hear...
"I sucked. I didn't want to suck, but I know I sucked. I feel bad that I sucked. I love the fans for supporting me while I sucked. I am going to try my hardest not to suck so much in the future, but in the interest of full disclosure, I am going to crack a beer first."
That's literally all it took for Chris Long to humanize himself. Just a little bit of candor and all the sudden he's not just a defensive end, but a person. That's not going to silence his critics if he goes elsewhere and continues to struggle, but at least fans of whatever team he plays for next know that he cares. Unfortunately, we can't always say that.