Ex-NFL quarterback Herschel Walker is having one helluva week.
Days after The Daily Beast exposed the anti-abortion GOP Senate candidate for paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion in 2009, Walker’s own son blew up social media with accusations of domestic violence, serial infidelity, and being an absentee father, leaving the Trump-endorsed nominee and his campaign scrambling to do damage control.
Unsurprisingly, the Guns, God, and Babies crowd held a prayer vigil for the embattled former football star – and reminded voters about Walker’s previously revealed mental health issues.
“Lord, we know that this is a battle he’s facing. It’s more vicious than any sports field he’s ever played on. This is the fight of his life, holy God. And we call forth your ministering angels to be his defenders.” – Pastor Anthony George
About 75 people showed up Tuesday at Atlanta-based megachurch, First Baptist Church, for the “Prayer Warriors for Herschel.”
Facebook user Pamela Reardon, an apparent Walker stan, posted a video of the religious “meeting,” writing:
This man is honest and has stepped up to help RIGHT this country and stop the destruction of the Marxists left. The Democrats are desperate and lying.
Atlanta Tea Party founder, Debbie Dooley tweeted:
I attended the prayer luncheon for the next Senator from Georgia @HerschelWalker .
Big crowd and we gave Herschel a standing ovation.
The hit piece on Herschel backfired spectacularly.
Grassroots across Georgia are more determined than ever to elect Herschel.@bluestein
— Debbie Dooley (@Crimsontider) October 4, 2022
It has been rumored that the Heisman Trophy winner suffers from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, widely referred to as CTE, and defined as a progressive brain condition that’s thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion.
While Walker has denied he has the mental health condition associated with suicidal thoughts, memory loss, and personality and mood changes, he did write about his mental health struggles in his 2008 book Breaking Free: My Life With Dissociative Personality Disorder.
While promoting his book, the former quarterback made unproven claims that he was reportedly a “Mental Health Awareness Ambassador” for AscendHealth Corporation. Yahoo News reported:
“Walker said he is working with medical professionals to set up a network of hospitals. University Behavioral Health in Denton, Texas, is the first of those. Another is scheduled to open in El Paso, Texas, in May. Land in San Francisco has just been acquired for a third hospital,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in April 2008.
There is no corroborating evidence for these claims.
Since announcing his bid to represent Georgia in Congress – conveniently moving back from Texas just in time to claim residency in the Peachtree State – talk of mental health has been off the table.
When caught lying about his past on multiple occasions, Walker took the “nothing to see here, folks,” approach – ignore it and it’ll go away. He did the same after accusations surfaced that he put a gun to his ex-wife’s temple and threatened to kill her.
No talk of mental health – until scandal hits, that is.
While the accusations of urging his ex-girlfriend to get an abortion – for which he reportedly gave her $700– were damning enough, his eldest child going off the rails amplified the elder Walker’s troubled past, causing the GOP to circle the wagons and use what they had to form a narrative: prayer and feigned victimhood.
“Reverend Warnock is running a nasty, dishonest campaign,” Walker said of Sen. Raphael Warnock, whom he is challenging. The reverend doesn’t even tell my full story, my true story,” Walker argued. “As everyone knows, I had a real battle with mental health, even wrote a book about it. And by the grace of God, I’ve overcome it.”
Anyone witness to an interview he’s done on the campaign trail could credibly argue differently.
Allegations in 2021 of domestic abuse from Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, caused concern at the time for the man who seemed to be the GOP’s best shot at flipping one of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats from blue to red.
Par for the GOP playbook, after the scandal breaks, the longtime Trump pal leans on his mental health battles to deflect.
The problem? He never addressed it, nor apologized. Instead, the Republican candidate talked in vague generalities, asserting he is “healed.”
Walker said he’s “better now than 99% of the people in America. … Just like I broke my leg; I put the cast on. It healed.”– Axios
After saying, “I’m always accountable to whatever I’ve ever done. And that’s what I tell people: I’m accountable to it,” when asked about Grossman’s allegations, Walker then went full circle and accused his ex-wife of “making things up.”
“People can’t just make up and add on and say other things that’s not the truth. They want me to address things that they made up,” Axios reported.
Mental health is a serious issue, one that tens of millions of Americans struggle with, yet some Republicans seem to use it as a justification or excuse for past and present behaviors without addressing causes and solutions.
If it’s redemption Walker truly wants, that begins with accountability and responsibility – not deniability.
Watch the prayer vigil video here.
Original reporting by Brian Kaylor at Word and Way.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick