As I’m sure you’ve already heard, Jovan Belcher, a starting middle linebacker on the Kansas City Chiefs, committed a murder/suicide this weekend, shocking the football world and changing many lives for the worse. I’m not here to talk about the specific incident. There’s nothing really to say that you haven’t heard a million times. What happened is a tragedy. I’ll say that and leave it at that.
I’m here, however, to talk about the public reaction to the incident and some things that have really been bugging me about it. The first is people remembering Belcher as a victim. Belcher is not a victim. Kasandra Perkins is a victim. Literally everyone else closely involved in the situation is a victim except Belcher. Kasandra Perkins was 22 years old and a new mother and now she’s dead. Their newborn daughter is 3 months old and now she has no parents.
The mother of Kasandra Perkins, who watched the incident happen, is a victim, as are the families of Kasandra Perkins and of Jovan Belcher and the people who knew them closely. Scott Pioli, Gary Gibbs, and Romeo Crennel are victims, as they had to watch Belcher kill himself in front of them. Belcher’s teammates, who have to deal with the loss of someone that was not just a teammate, but probably a friend to most of them, they are victims.
Jovan Belcher is no victim. He deserves no RIP. He is the only one in this situation who is not a victim. He’s not an innocent. He’s a killer and a murderer. People who commit murder/suicides are not remembered fondly generally and this situation should not be any different. If he had just committed murder and been arrested and thrown in jail for the rest of his life, he would not have been remembered fondly and this situation should not be any different. The fact that Belcher went to the Chiefs’ facility, of all places, after committing murder to finish the 2nd half of the murder/suicide makes it even worse. By doing that, he was endangering more people’s lives and forcing those who cared about him to watch as he ended his own life, leaving them with undoubtedly painful memories for life.
All of my sympathies go out to the real victims in this situation, but I don’t have any left for a man who would kill the mother of his child in front of their newborn and her mother, go to his place of work with a gun and finish the murder/suicide in front of friends, coaches, and teammates, and leave his 3 month old daughter without parents. Kevin Clancy (KFC), actually wrote about this situation better than anyone I read this weekend, ironic coming from a self proclaimed smut humor site such as Barstool Sports (huge fan, by the way), but KFC did a great job of summing up my exact feelings on the situation. That can be read here.
You can say he was mentally ill and that’s why he deserves sympathy, but isn’t everyone who commits murder mentally ill? Don’t you have to be? There’s no excuse for what he did. Because of this, I’m very, very glad that the Chiefs chose to take a moment of silence before the game in honor of victims of domestic violence, not in memory of a murderer, but there are still too many people forgetting who the real victims are. If you’re interested, there will be a fund for the orphaned daughter opened early this week, as far as I know. There’s no way to donate yet, but as soon as I know how, I’ll tweet it out (@stevenlourie).
The second thing I have an issue with is people saying this game shouldn’t have been played. These people fall into two groups of people, people who literally have their facts wrong and people who think the Chiefs should not be allowed to make their own decisions in how they grieve. I don’t have too much of an issue with the first group of people, people who think the “greedy rich” National Football League MADE them play the game today, unless of course these people are like Michael Silver, who get paid to know things like this and report the facts accurately.
The NFL did not make the Chiefs play this game. At the very least, if they had objected, I’m sure the NFL would not have forced them to play the game. But what was generally reported by (almost) everyone is that the NFL talked with Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli, the coaches, and the team captains and they decided to continue to play the game as scheduled. Romeo Crennel even said as much in his very well said post-game conference, saying “we’re football players and football coaches and that’s what we do. We play on Sunday.”
That’s why I have an issue with these people thinking this game shouldn’t have been played. If the Chiefs wanted to play the game, let them play. Who are they to tell them how to grieve? They wanted to play football. Very few people out there know what they’re going through and even those very few who do have no right to tell them how to deal with the situation, as I’m sure anyone who has gone through this situation will tell you.
It would have been a major slap in the face to them, the definition of kicking them when they’re down, for the NFL to force them not to play, as some are suggesting should have happened. That insinuates that these grown men are not able to make their own decisions. They are and I have no objection to the one they made.
Do I understand it? Maybe not, but do I have to? Absolutely not. I certainly have no clue how they held it all together and won their 2nd football game of the season today, but I’m not shocked that happened either. This is an emotional situation that I have absolutely no understanding of and I’m definitely in the vast majority there. I’m not going to pretend like I do and that I know better than them. Also, and I can’t confirm this, but it sounds like at least half of the proceeds from the game will go to the fund for the orphaned daughter and to benefit victims of domestic violence, so that’s obviously good.
One of the people who wrote that this game should not go on was Jason Whitlock, a writer for the Kansas City Star and Fox Sports, who I have actually complimented on this site in the past for his article about Roger Goodell’s hypocrisy, forcing the league to play games on Thursday, while simultaneously pretending to care about concussions and injuries. Whitlock actually says in his article about Belcher, “it shouldn’t be their [the Chiefs’] decision. Roger Goodell should’ve made this call,” which absolutely infuriated me. Let them make their own decision.
Whitlock also got into gun control in this article, which leads me to the next thing that really pissed me off: Bob Costas. I hate Bob Costas. I always have. Many people do. The man is incredibly pretentious and insufferable. He always talks as if he is holier than thou and he has the uncanny ability to simultaneously speak from a soapbox while clearly reading off a teleprompter. He adds absolutely nothing to the Sunday Night Football experience and he frequently takes away from it. I’m not even sure he likes football. I wish he was somewhere else because that’s where it feels like he belongs. I’m sure he has a purpose somewhere, but this isn’t it. I make fun of a lot of football commentators, but Costas is the only one I legitimately cannot stand.
However, this week set me over the edge. It wasn’t even the stuff about gun control at first, which has so many second amendment defenders incredibly angry. About 30 seconds into his lecture, I tweeted “Fuck you Bob Costas, you are not fit to talk about the Jovan Belcher situation, go back to sniffing your own farts.” I was really glad this was one of my most retweeted tweets ever because it showed me that people agreed with me. The video can be watched in its entirety here.
That was before he got into gun control. I was just incredibly angry that he looked legitimately happy that this tragic incident happened because it gave him an opportunity to get on his soap box again. He spoke pompously and was clearly fighting to hold back smiles and pure jubilation. He made fun of an old cliché that things like this always help us put things in perspective, by saying that they only put things in perspective long enough until we need another incident to help us put it back into perspective.
He went on to continue with a very arrogant “please” (this is where I lost it actually, he might have well as have “bitch please,” it was that arrogant) and then said “those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective,” basically just destroying everyone who has ever agreed with or said what I find to be a very appropriate cliché. And he’s so holier than thou and so much better than people who say that. And he sounded generally excited that this happened so he could point it out. That’s what set me off. He used this tragedy to toot his own horn and talk down to a large portion of people who didn’t do anything wrong. Fuck you.
And then he made a not so smooth transition into gun control, citing Jason Whitlock’s article as some “real perspective.” I say citing, but I pretty much mean that he read the whole thing to us word for word. I’m not even going to tell you where I stand on gun control. That wouldn’t make me any better than him. That’s exactly the point. This is completely the wrong environment for that conversation.
We didn’t tune in to hear about Bob Costas’ political views or anyone’s political views. We tuned in to watch football and hear about stories that relate to football. Bob Costas’ 2nd amendment views were irrelevant to the discussion about Belcher, as are Whitlock’s, but he felt they were so important that we all had to hear them. And even worse, he seemed happy that this tragedy happened so he could promote his political agenda. Again, fuck you.