Seal was a favorite recording artist for Steve and I. It is through the lyrics of Seal’s song “Don’t Cry”, we discovered the word sycophant. Dictionary.com defines sycophant as “a self- seeking, servile flatterer; a fawning parasite”. In my experience, this is a definition that is very fitting and aptly describes some of the people who were in Steve’s life.
Since Steve accomplished so much in the sport of triathlon and was so well known in the triathlon community, it was only natural for sycophants to be attracted to Steve. What really disappoints me is how some of these same people still continue to behave in a sycophantic manner two years after Steve’s suicide.
Just this month, Steve was selected by triathlon’s governing body, USAT, as their 2016 Lifetime Achievement award winner. I shared this on Slipped Away’s Facebook page, a page I created to honor Steve’s legacy and to also raise awareness for mental health issues and suicide. Slipped Away, Steve’s memoir that I wrote, is promoted on this Facebook page and every dollar that has been made from the sale of this book is donated to project9line.org, a non- profit organization devoted to providing outlets in the arts for veterans suffering from PTSD and depression.
Within hours of my posting this great news of Steve’s award on social media, there were those who took the information (including the photo of Steve that I used) and did their own postings of this news without any evidence that it came from Slipped Away’s Facebook page. Why would they do that and not acknowledge the source? Was it a “hanger-on” effort to boost their own self-esteem in the eyes of others in an attempt to fuel the misconception that they were important and loving people in Steve’s life? Or, are they too embarrassed by acknowledging the cause of Steve’s death and in effect, propagating the stigma? No matter what the reason(s), I find their behavior to be despicable, especially since I know Steve would have been disgusted with their actions as well.
On a positive note, there would have been a time when I would have been devastated by this type of behavior (this is not the first time I have witnessed this type of conduct), however, now, I am able to realize the transparencies of the motives of these people’s actions.
As these people continue their sycophantic behaviors, some day, if they have not already, others will see through it as well.