Murder/Suicide Shocks NFL and Fans
Will Rossmiller
wross460@uwsp.edu - Twitter @willrossmiller
jovanbelcherWikiPhoto.jpg

This past Saturday, tragedy struck the sports world. Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then proceeded to take his own life.

Belcher, in his third year in the NFL out of the University of Maine, drove to the team’s facilities after shooting his girlfriend and committed suicide in front of general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and linebackers Coach Gary Gibbs.

In the saddest news, Belcher and Perkins leave their child Zoey Belcher an orphan at 3 months.

Even after the tragedy, the Chiefs still decided to play their game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. In less important news, they won, 27-21.

Belcher started for most of three seasons with the Chiefs after being undrafted out of college. Belcher was introduced to Perkins by teammate Jamaal Charles.

One of the truly disgusting things on Saturday and the days following had to be the coverage of the media and some fans.

Initially, the report on the suicide did not give a name for the player. It was reported that in some cases fans were complaining about not releasing the name because it could affect their fantasy team.

That is just sick. This is a person’s life we are talking about, not some fantasy game that has no meaning whatsoever.

Another issue was the post-game press conference with Romeo Crennel.

Belcher at a game in Denver in November, 2010.
Photo courtesy of
Jeffrey Beall, Wikimedia Foundation.

This man just witnessed a suicide less than 48 hours ago, but reporters still had to ask multiple questions about it.

“I think that, respectfully, to you guys and ladies, I’m choosing not to answer any questions about what I saw yesterday” Crennel said in a post-game interview to the media. “I think you will understand that and, hopefully, you will respect my wishes on that because it wasn’t a pretty sight, so I’m choosing not to talk about it.”

The fact that Crennel even had to say this is unacceptable, but media members will say they had to ask, which is blatantly not true.

Of all the things said on the Belcher issue this past week, Brady Quinn struck the biggest chord with many fans.

“When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?” Quinn said, in an interview with media after the game.

“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook,” Quinn said. “Half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

This tragedy has brought to light something that many of us forget from time to time: NFL players, and all professional athletes, are human just like us.

We place them on such a high pedestal that we forget that they are just like us. They have their ups and downs like we do. They have major flaws just like us. We aren’t so different from them.