Playing with pain in the NFL

Re "Depression? Just shake it off," Opinion, Sept. 21

The story of NFL player Vince Young's struggle with depression is a glaring example of the mental health crisis among men. They are lonely and misunderstood by everyone, and most of all, themselves. Their precarious notions of manliness are being challenged every day by the highly competitive business world and by women who want connection in modern relationships.

Corporations, like professional sports franchises, don't respect vulnerabilities -- particularly emotional ones. Men were not raised to be emotionally connected or expressive, especially when they hurt. They were taught that success has only one yardstick: material wealth.

As a psychologist, I see more men than ever in my practice with depression and anxiety because of these stresses. But you'd never know it: The man sitting next to you won't tell you that he needs help or that he is getting it.

Let's give men a chance to trade in their shame for self-healing before it's too late. Evelyn Kohan

Calabasas

I found Zirin's comparison of the NFL to a chest-bumping, music-blaring frat party to be an analogy fraught with contradictions. According to Zirin, the NFL refuses to acknowledge depression as a league issue because it damages the image of its iron-made players, who champion an organization built only for the strongest men. This very portrayal challenges Zirin's carefree frat-party illustration.

What's more, suggesting that ardent football enthusiasts -- I count myself among them -- cannot be bothered with such human emotions as depression because they interfere with the NFL's testosterone-driven image paints a distorted picture of detached and indifferent fans. Following players' stories makes most people care even more about a player, human flaws and all.

Samantha Ann Perez

Van Nuys

Speaking of assimilation

Re "Speaks volumes," editorial, Sept. 24 and "Census study finds a greater blend," Sept. 23

The editorial on Spanish speakers and the news stories that preceded it is a classic case of news that should not be news, at least for those acquainted with American history.

The tale of how, within three generations, Spanish speakers tend to go from almost exclusively Spanish to English fluency and often forget the language of their ancestors has had a long history in this country. It is a common immigration experience. Germans, Poles, Italians, Chinese, Japanese and many other immigrant groups have all had it.

Complaints about language and culture have been common every time a major new group arrives here in large numbers. Recall the complaints about the Irish -- most of whom spoke English. Or Ben Franklin's fear that the colony of Pennsylvania would be overrun by all those Germans, altering good English language and culture. This too will pass.

David Hudson

Fresno

You must not venture east of Westwood very often! Where I live, every laundromat is called a lavanderia. Almost every TV set and radio is set to a Spanish-speaking channel. One only needs to read the Nielsen ratings to see how many Spanish-speaking channels are near the top.