How do you overcome something when your daily battle is reduced to a national running joke on Twitter?
Former Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, now a member of the Seattle Seahawks, recently sat down with Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN.com to talk about his very public struggle with his weight issues and how living life as a walking meme can take its toll.
Packers fans undoubtedly recall how things started with Lacy way back in his very first training camp, when a picture of Lacy became an Internet sensation.
Having left Green Bay in free agency this past summer, Lacy’s every move was scrutinized through the prism of his weight. As he tells Valkenberg, he can count on social media to remind him of his battles with this weight every time he logs on.
It wasn’t easy for him to speak to a journalist about all of this, but now that he has, the article is a good look at the unnecessarily cruel doors social media can open.
From Van Valkenburg’s article:
Lacy had to think long and hard before agreeing to meet up and talk like this. There is a good chance, each of us concedes, that this interview will just give his trolls a fresh batch of ammunition. Social media has done wonders in recent years to bridge the gap between fans and professional athletes, but increased intimacy comes with drawbacks, and nobody understands that better than Eddie Lacy.
"I could pull up my Twitter right now and there would be a fat comment in there somewhere," he says. "Like I could tweet, 'Today is a beautiful day!' and someone would be like, 'Oh yeah? You fat.' I sit there and wonder: 'What do you get out of that?'"
When the internet turns one of your most personal flaws into a meme, how the hell do you possibly escape it?
Ever since his weight became a public topic during his four years in Green Bay -- which included two 1,100-yard seasons -- Lacy had read those kinds of comments and brooded in silence, convinced he couldn't win. Responding would only give his tormentors a smirk of satisfaction, knowing they'd wounded him. If he worked hard, got back in shape through yoga and P90X, maybe then the jokes would fade.
One interesting thing to note, which Valkenberg did this morning on social media, despite popular opinion, Lacy’s game was really not affected by his weight struggles.
Be sure to read Van Valkenburg’s entire article. It’s a fascinating look at today’s social media and sports landscape through a figure most Packers fans are readily familiar with.