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
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
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.