As promised in Tuesday's blog, The Stack is here on this Wednesday with some thoughts on the tragedy in Kansas City regarding the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide so let's get right to "the stack" for today, Wednesday, December 5:
Jovan Belcher case brings raises questions, confusion
It probably seemed like an ordinary fall Saturday morning during football season for Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. Doing some extra work, going over the gameplan one final time before going over it with the team later that day before their game the next day against the Carolina Panthers. Little did he know that his life, along with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and the rest of the Chiefs organization, was about to change forever.
Fifteen minutes from Arrowhead Stadium, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher got into a heated argument with his girlfriend, 22-year old Kasandra Perkins and shot and killed her. Belcher did this with Perkins mom visiting in the next room. We've since found out that Belcher and Perkins relationship had had several problems and that they had been in numerous arguments before and that the Chiefs had even tried to help as much as they could.
Details keep emerging about how Belcher told Perkins mother he was sorry before exiting the house and making the fifteen minute drive to Arrowhead Stadium where, consumed with grief about what he had done, shot and killed himself behind his car with his head coach and general manager there to witness it all. They tried to talk him out of it, but with the cops arriving, Belcher thanked Pioli and Crennel for what they had done for him and pulled the trigger. A 25-year old linebacker, free agent out of Maine who the Chiefs had brought in and was making an impact on the team, and his 22-year old girlfriend, an innocent young woman in all of this, dead in a murder-suicide. Perhaps the worst part about it all is that the couple had a three-month old baby girl, Zoe, who will not know anything about her parents until she is told about the horrific December 1st Saturday morning in which her dad pulled the trigger on her mom before turning the gun on himself.
Chiefs players were obviously getting filled in on the days events and being asked to come in for a final word. They had to have been stunned. How could their teammate just kill himself like that? Some most likely didn't even know he had killed his girlfriend beforehand. Was this pre-meditated? Was Belcher depressed? So many questions, such few answers. How Crennel could deal with everything in a time like this is beyond me. I don't know how he was in front of the team. My guess would that he was quite choked up and shook up over what he had just witnessed. Wouldn't you? If one of your players or a family member killed themselves in front of you, how would you cope with it? It speaks to the inner strength of Crennel. A team is a family. Coaches, players, everyone. Losing a family member is pretty painful.
Several Chiefs took to Twitter saying how much they were going to miss Belcher and how great of a teammate and person he was. I get it, I understand it. He was their teammate. They were in shock that he did something like this. He had several close friends on the team. But as a few days have passed, can they see that he wasn't just a teammate, but a murderer? Some will defend him, saying he was fighting with demons or must have been depressed, but the fact of the matter remains is that Belcher was more than just a football player. Turns out he was a murderer and a coward. To kill your girlfriend and then kill yourself so you won't have to live with yourself for the act you just did or the crime you just committed is cowardly to say the least. Not only that, but it is selfish. You have left your little baby girl, three months old without her parents. She is an orphan thanks to your act.
Of littleist importance in all of the sadness surrounding this tragedy, the Chiefs voted to play their game against the Panthers on Sunday as scheduled. The Chiefs went out and for three hours tried to take their minds off of the last twenty-four plus hours, and win a football game. They did, 27-21. Might have had a little extra inspiration. Perhaps a hand from above. Maybe two. Afterwards, Crennel gave a passionate postgame speech in the locker room. He's talked the last few days about Belcher . Obviously, it's tough on Crennel. But perhaps Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn, who played his best game of the season in Sunday's win said it best in his postgame press conference. "When you ask someone how they're doing, do you really mean it? When you respond back, are you really telling them the truth?" It's definitely worth thinking about.
Plenty of Chiefs players are going to be asking that question..."why?" Why didn't they see the signs? Were there any? What could they have done differently? Maybe no one feels worse than running back Jamaal Charles, whose wife was a cousin of Perkins. In fact, Belcher met Perkins through Charles and his wife. And now they have this on their conscience. Perhaps something could have been done, but this was Belcher's act. He did this on his own. No drugs, no alcohol. He pulled the trigger. Sad, just sad.
Thank goodness the Chiefs players are ready to help take care of Zoe. They're setting up a trust fund for her to make sure she is financially taken care of for most of her life. The NFLPA will set up a matching trust fund It's the least they can do. And it is a nice move by the NFLA. I can only think that Perkins' mother will be Zoe's legal guardian, but the Chiefs players should adopt her too. Make sure that she grows with the team. That they are there for her whenever she needs something. That they are her giant extended family. It would be really cool if Zoe became the team's adopted daughter to help take care of and watch her grow up into a beautiful, smart, young woman.
Plenty of people will bring up gun laws and domestic violence because of this. Stop. Now is not that time. A family, a team, a community, is in mourning. Let the grieving process continue before we bring up whether or not it's ok for an athlete to possess a gun. A little girl is without her parents. What we can learn from this situation is that perhaps we need to look into our own lives and the people around us. Just as Quinn said, do we really mean how is someone doing when we ask them? Are they telling the truth to us? Let's take the painful lessons we've learned from this horrific example and grow and make our lives and those around us better. It's the least we can do. For Kasandra. For Zoe. For everyone.
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