Former Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick referred to it as “The Play.” Packers fans know The Play all too well, and several of them went too far after it happened. Bostick takes full responsibility for his actions during the NFC Championship Game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, but he’s since paid the price.
Bostick received loads of backlash for mishandling an onside kick that, if handled properly, would have likely sent the Packers to the Super Bowl. Instead, that backlash, filled with outright hatred, resulted in him being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. Bostick told Sportscasting he is now determined to help others improve their mental health.
Bostick was supposed to block. The Seahawks had just scored with 2:09 remaining to cut their deficit to 19-14. They needed to recover an onside kick to keep any hopes of earning that Super Bowl berth.
The ball was kicked in Bostick’s direction, and his job was to block and let wide receiver Jordy Nelson catch it. Instead, Bostick went for the ball, mishandled it, and the Seahawks recovered. They went down the field, scored, and eventually won in overtime.
“I didn’t do my job,” Bostick told Sportscasting on Friday. “I was supposed to block. If I had caught the ball, I would still be mad at myself because I didn’t do my job.”
Did he get any support from them?
“No,” he said.
While all was quiet inside the locker room, fans were brutal to Bostick. They attacked him on every social media platform. They were downright nasty.
“It was all negativity,” he said. “Racist comments, death threats. It brought me to a dark place.”
People can be cruel, and social media can be an athlete’s worst nightmare. Despite the beating he took by the internet cowards, Bostick said he wouldn’t give up his social media during his playing days if he had the chance to do it all over again.
In 2020, Bostick was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. Mental health was never something Bostick dealt with until “after that play in 2015,” he said. Last week, Bostick posted on Twitter that he had to take 15-20 pills to have a decent day. He said that was no exaggeration. Bostick said he sees a therapist and psychologist.
Bostick is doing much better than he was in 2015.
In last week’s NFC Championship Game, San Francisco 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt dropped what could have been a game-clinching interception against the Rams. Instead, the Rams battled back and pulled out the victory, earning a Super Bowl berth.
Tartt blamed himself for the loss, saying he “let my brothers down.” That drop triggered flashbacks to 2015.
“I definitely can relate,” Bostick said. “I know that feeling. As an athlete, you’re always going to beat yourself up. I would just tell him to not be so hard on himself.”
Bostick hasn’t played football since 2016 when he played a season with the New York Jets. He’s learning to live without the game he’s always loved. He realizes not many make it to the NFL, and he was able to live out his dream and the dream of many other young kids. He’s not going to let the acts of many deplorable keyboard warriors keep him from what he wants to do — help others.
“Football was all I ever played,” he said. “That part is over, but my life is just beginning now.”
Bostick co-founded Sage Elite Healing, which helps individuals and groups align their focus with the four realms of healing — mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
“Knowing what I’ve been through, we want to help improve the mind and the body,” he said. “We want to help give people their life back and find their sense of purpose.”
Sage Elite was founded in August, and its facility is in Denver, Colorado. Bostick lives in Arizona but said he is moving to Colorado.
“It’s all about helping people find their sense of purpose,” Bostick said.
He has certainly found his.
How to get help: In the U.S. and Canada, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a crisis counselor for support.