Hearne: Shrink Peels Back Veneer of Sports Suicide to Unveil Real Reason Martin Manley Killed Himself



There are always at least two ways of looking at things…

In the case of former Kansas City Star sports statistics editor Martin Manley – who killed himself and left a blog full of reasons as to why – you can go with your gut or take Manley’s many words for it.

And while it’s certainly a fascinating subject for many, the actual truth lies closer to reading between Manley’s lines rather the lines themselves, says a prominent local psychiatrist who asked not to be named.

“Hearne, this guy needs to be pitied not vilified,” she says. “From his blog I can see that he has had emotional problems his entire life and I would not see that as worth commenting on as a professional.

“It’s too bad that no one was able to see his illness for what it was – but at any rate, it’s just another sad case that ended in suicide. The only unique thing was his use of a blog,  which was another piece of evidence of his illness.”

There’s more.



“People kill themselves and others every day – his case is only special because he designed such an obsessive compulsive pathetic blog. Others have kept elaborate notes about plans to kill themselves and others. What should be gleaned is how did those closest to him miss such odd behavior? I suspect he was on the autism spectrum.

An example is that a few weeks ago a client of mine was told that an old friend of hers from a workplace situation had killed himself. They found in his belongings a rambling rant about his plans to kill himself, but only after he had killed my client. And she had no idea she was a target or why he didnt try to kill her. Once again, how did those closest to the guy miss his craziness. The same with serial killers of all sorts.”

As for Manley’s wild goose chase treasure hunt…

“I think it was the act of  a powerless, unwanted and unloved little man who could hope for some last way to impact the world – even in a futile, negative way. A big ‘fuck you’ and the desire to laugh at others. A bit of sadist (thing) that I was hinting at earlier.”


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29 Responses to Hearne: Shrink Peels Back Veneer of Sports Suicide to Unveil Real Reason Martin Manley Killed Himself

  1. paulwilsonkc says:

    How did he go from the one picture with spikey, strawberry blonde hair, to looking like Norman Bates mother in the next one?

  2. Irishguy says:

    You know, a psychiatrist more than any one else should recognize the absolute cruelty of the following question: “What should be gleaned is how did those closest to him miss such odd behavior?”

    Does he not think that “those closest to him” are not torturing themselves enough with that very question, so he has to pile on as well?

    It is a question that everybody who loses a loved one to suicide is haunted by for the rest of their lives. Some of them actually are so haunted that they seek professional help.

    I wonder what this “psychiatrist” tells them? “Yeah! You should have known, then you should have prevented it.”

    • admin says:

      That’s a bit of a harsh reading, since that was not at all what she said.

      Noting that it’s “too bad” no one saw it coming and wondering aloud as to how no one close was able to read Manley’s odd behavior is merely food for thought for those of us going forward. That we may be able to glean something from this sad tale.

      Putting your words in her mouth accomplishes very little.

      • Irishguy says:

        Hearne, please. It’s a direct quote. Either you misquoted her, or she said it. But I certainly didn’t “put those words in her mouth.”

        How else can you possibly interpret “What should be gleaned is how did those closest to him miss such odd behavior?”

        Then what? This could have been prevented? If she is not saying that, then what the hell is she saying?

        • admin says:

          First and foremost, she’s saying it’s too bad that no one picked up on any of the warning signs. And as you can see from the quote I offered below, there usually are warning signs – often ones that family members and friends miss.

          So it’s a call for further deliberation, not a castigation of family members who missed it.
          her other comment – and I quote – was a question.

          “What should be gleaned is how did those closest to him miss such odd behavior?”

          Again – not a condemnation of Manley’s family – but a call to all of us going forward to watch for the signals that experts say usually precede such suicides.

          • Irishguy says:

            Well, here is another possibility that she doesn’t seem to consider. Is it possible that Manley had long ago isolated himself and driven away any one who ever cared about him so that no one was around to witness the “odd behavior”?

            And is it possible that many of the “odd behaviors” you list before can be nothing more than what they are? Moodiness, a change in eating habits, alcohol or drug abuse, and do not always mean that a person is about to commit suicide?

            Ask your psychiatrist friend if she has ever had a client who committed suicide. If not, she either hasn’t been in practice very long or hasn’t had the most complex cases.

          • Hearne, I have to agree with Irishguy here. It was a brash remark from a purported professional. Maybe the question mark takes it out of context, but any average reader will construe the quote as making his friends or family feel guilty for not detecting any warning signs. Well, I guess that professional could say such a thing given the fact they’re anonymous. At least you clarified that the question in point should be taken as a call for loved ones to pay more attention if someone is acting odd.

  3. mike t. says:

    “prominent local psychiatrist.” really? what a bunch of hooey. hell, i can pyschobabble better than that. i can’t cite statistics, but i’d about bet that most who commit suicide don’t show symptoms serious enough that loved ones or friends would “see” that action coming.

    • admin says:

      Spoken like a true man on the next barstool!

    • Irishguy says:

      Mike, I’d like to see statistics on the number of people who kill themselves while under psychiatric care.

      This is not to poo-poo the profession of psychiatry. But it is to point out that if even shrinks can’t see that a person is about to kill themselves, how can you expect lay people to pick up on the signs that only look obvious in hindsight?

  4. paulwilsonkc says:

    I’m not a local psychiatrist either, but I can tell you this. I’ve only had one experience with suicide that was close enough to me to consider a friend. Never one did he threaten it, people knew he was down about a relationship issue that was terribly complicated on multiple levels. Not once, however, did anyone anticipate his death, even those closest to him.

    He simply drove to the site in Overland Park that he deemed where the most damage had taken place…. and did it.

    I can tell you this, the overwhelming feeling displayed at his funeral, other than the immense loss to many felt, was anger. Anger towards him. It came from family members, close friends, all thought he made an incredibly selfish decision; a full time solution to a part time problem he could have sought help for.

    It was also likely the first time I understood someone truly can make that decision without being insane. It just became a choice to him, plain and simple. He was done.

    • admin says:


    • Irishguy says:

      Paul, yes, anger is one of the spectrum of emotions that those who experience the death of a loved one go through. Perhaps this is why I am so sensitive to this subject.

      Years ago, a very dear friend openly threatened to kill herself to every friend she had. We all urged her to get help. She did. She spent some time in in-patient therapy, diagnosed with what is now called bi-polar disorder and was prescribed various medications.

      She seemed to be back on top of the world. Then one night, she chased a handful of barbituates with a glass of vodka.

  5. admin says:

    Here’s an interesting take by the author of a book on suicide worth considering:

    Most suicides occur without warning. False

    “It may seem a suicide has occurred without warning, but usually some sort of suicidal gesture has taken place prior to the act. Any of the following are clues to a suicidal mindset: withdrawal, moodiness, depression, aggression or risk-taking, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, personality changes, threats, giving away possessions, and diminished sexual interest. Although it may appear to the family that the event was without warning, usually a psychological autopsy of the suicide victim reveals suicidal precursors.”

    • Irishguy says:

      Hearne, there is also a wealth of literature devoted to helping people cope with the suicide of a loved one. Perhaps you should consult some of that as well.

  6. Orphan of the Road says:

    With age comes wisdom, or so they told me long ago. Though I am starting to doubt that now.

    Sportin’ Life Blues tells of the waste of life playing cards, singing the blues and such. A story of a life spent on petty things. Written by Brownie McGee at age 17.

    Or the haunting theme from M.A.S.H., written by a grizzled old man of 14, Mike Altman. Took him five-minutes.

    My sons were 12 when their friend took his life, leaving a voice mail while doing it.

    I’m going to guess those are your words, “the real reason” rather than the professional.

    The sword of time will pierce our skins
    It doesn’t hurt when it begins
    But as it works its way on in
    The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

    A brave man once requested me
    to answer questions that are key
    ‘is it to be or not to be’
    and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

    ‘Cause suicide is painless
    it brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    …and you can do the same thing if you choose.

  7. Ham says:

    Peals? Was this guy a bell? Nice headline.

    An eight year old could figure out the guy was a friggin’ nut. Mystery solved.

    Instead of making himself famous, like he wanted, that’s how he’ll be remembered: just another whackjob.

    If anything good comes out of this it’s maybe Tony Botello will take the hint.

  8. harley says:

    saw on a recent documentary that there are really no real “therapists” left.
    the pharma companies have taken care of that. Instead of really working
    with patients on their problems and providing therapy and work on their’
    condition the pharma industry has neatly packaged all things wrong with
    people into a drug they can sell with the needed personal therapy that
    was once the work of those in that profession.
    That’s not from me….i’m not an expert…that from the one time head of
    one of the largest psychiatric organizations in the nation.
    When we start talking about suicide you’re talking about a very very
    serious condition that takes time to work on . This is a sad story
    for many many people…the victim…the family and friends.

  9. Super Dave says:

    The distinction between sanity and insanity is narrower than the razor’s edge, sharper than a hound’s tooth, more agile than a mule deer. It is more elusive than the merest phantom. Perhaps it does not even exist; perhaps it is a phantom.

  10. admin says:

    I was flying pretty low today, Irish Dude. And maybe I didn’t quite make my point.

    You had the one quote right, but I felt it was out of context from the other quotes and the shrink’s overall sentiments. She wasn’t trying to hammer the family, she was noting – for readers – that we should try and play closer attention, look for signs.

    I know by now you read that one suicide experts take. That while it’s normal for friends and families to be blindsided by suicide that after-the-fact accountings reveal that the signs were often there – they just went unread.

    So my interpretation of her comment was that we need to question and open ourselves up to looking for these signals. Not that it was a condemnation of family members who blew it in not recognizing the coming storm.

    Didn’t mean to cross swords with you, wild man. Just wanted to point out what I think the counselor was trying to say. I know it’s easy to read things more than one way.

    Combined with the thinking that

  11. admin says:

    Missing in action in these interactions; THE DUDE!

    Come home. Dude – all is forgiven.

    You are missed. WTF, time for your comeback!

  12. Rick Nichols says:

    There are NO experts on the mysterious machinations of the human mind, only God.

  13. Jeff says:

    “I suspect he was on the autism spectrum”. Why? What evidence did this so-called expert (and always be wary of doctors making a prognosis from afar-or have we forgotten the Frist/Schiavo fiasco a few years ago?) find in news reports. What experience does this woman have in working with people on the spectrum. Is she a trained ABA therapist? Shameful.

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