I don’t feel it’s right that I’m playing, knowing that I’m not 100 per cent. I cannot currently operate at the level I have done in the past.
Following two failures in the first Test of The Ashes, Jonathan Trott opted to leave the tour due to a stress-related illness. Some ran with the narrative that he was unable to deal with the rough and tumble approach by the Aussie bowlers - a not so veiled attack on Trott’s masculinity.
Hughes' tweet was surprising considering he had previously offered support for Trott on Twitter right after the announcement. He quickly retracted today's tweet offering the trite "I'm sorry if I've offended anyone" apology.
Nonetheless, Simon Hughes has been the exception. Trott's decision to leave The Ashes has been met with near universal support - an acknowledgement that mental illness is a serious matter and one that warrants mature discussion.
Trott’s teammates have been staunch in their support, with many taking to twitter to pledge their allegiance publicly.
England cricket has been down this road before with Marcus Trescothick and Michael Yardy. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised then that the ECB has handled the situation so well. Still, it should be given credit for fostering a team environment where multiple players could feel comfortable enough to voice their struggles publicly. It cannot be merely a matter of coincidence.
The response to Jonathan Trott is a heartening step forward in how we treat mental illnesses. Athletes are not gladiators. Having a mental illness does not make one weak, or less of a man. Having the courage to speak up about it and support those who are suffering is brave, and more impressive than negotiating any Mitchell Johnson bouncer.