Aaron Lennon, like many sportspeople before him, deserves all our sympathy and help

Aaron Lennon, detained under the Mental Health Act

Aaron Lennon, detained under the Mental Health Act - Credit: PA

The news of Aaron Lennon’s detainment under the Mental Health Act has generated an outpouring of shock and sympathy for the player, writes Mike Bacon in his latest Bacon’s Bites column.

The 30-year-old flying Everton winger, who has played 21 times for his country, was detained on Sunday after concerns for his welfare.

He was taken into hospital where he is “receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness”, according to a statement from Everton Football Club.

While this news is clearly upsetting, it’s another big story that again highlights mental illness.

Mental illness can affect any of us – and I mean any of us – at any time, at any age.

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There are no barriers, there are no rights and wrongs, no rules.

It doesn’t affect just the poor, it doesn’t affect just the rich, it doesn’t affect just men or just women.

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Successful people, unsuccessful people. You can be a lottery winner, or sleeping rough on the streets, mental illness will not differentiate.

News of Lennon’s detainment has prompted a swell of support for him.

He is not the first sportsperson to suffer depression and mental illness.

Jonathan Trott and Marcus Trescothick are two cricketers who have battled the illness, as has Andrew Flintoff.

The Yorkshireman admitted the realisation hit him while he was making a 2012 documentary ‘The Hidden Side of Sport’, which featured boxer Ricky Hatton, Vinnie Jones, and snooker player Graham Dott opening up their depression and the effect it had on their careers.

Frank Bruno has been sectioned three times since 2003 – the boxer was one of the first to offer their support to Lennon.

“Thoughts r with Aaron Lennon today, stay strong & as positive as possible,there is light at the end of tunnel u will get through this boss.”

The one positive outcome about all this is the on-going conversation about mental health, how it can be dealt with and treated, and supporting those who are struggling.

The more we can all talk about it the better.

My best wishes for a full recovery to Aaron Lennon.

It’s not been a good week for sport if you ask me.

Athletics has descended into complete chaos with this week’s proposals to rewrite world records set before 2005.

What is the sport saying?

That every world record set before that date was broken by a drug cheat? I know the sport needs cleaning up, but this really is rather cracking a nut with a sledgehammer.

Long jumper Mike Powell, whose mark of 8.95 metres set in August 1991 and has never been bettered, has already said he will legally challenge any ruling.

“There are some records out there that are kind of questionable, I can see that, but mine is the real deal,” the American said.

“It’s a story of human heart and guts, one of the greatest moments in the sport’s history.”

He’s not wrong. Along with many other top ‘clean’ athletes and their brilliance in track and field.

I don’t think you will believe this next story.

Sulley Muntari, the former Portsmouth man and current Pescara midfielder has been banned for one match after walking off the pitch at Cagliari on Sunday following racist abuse from the home crowd.

He was booked for complaining to the referee about the abuse, before walking off the pitch and earning a second yellow card.

It that wasn’t the biggest ‘cowpat’ of a decision in the field, get this.

Serie A’s disciplinary committee then said no action would be taken against Cagliari over the incident as, “an approximate number of only 10” individuals were involved, not enough to warrant a punishment against the club under Serie A rules.


What sort of rules are those?

Ones that were written in the Stone Age?

My goodness, this is 2017.

And while I’m the last person who has much time for the over-zealous PC brigade who have so eaten into the fabric of our society with some of their ridiculous ideals, Muntari had every right to be defended in the position he found himself in.

It’s a disgrace what has happened to him and the way he has been thrown to the wolves.

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