NFL Player involved in murder-suicide - The Behrend Beacon

NFL Player involved in murder-suicide

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Author: Adam Terragnoli (sports editor)

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher committed suicide outside Arrowhead Stadium on the morning of Dec. 8, 2012. Belcher, who was 25 years old, is also suspected of killing his girlfriend earlier that morning.  On that morning around 7 a.m, Belcher got into a fight with his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins at their home, shortly after fatally shot her. After this, Belcher drove to the Chiefs facilities where he spoke with both the general manager, Scott Pioli, and coach, Romeo Crennel. Belcher shortly spoke with the men, he never threatened them at any time. Belcher then thanked them and shot himself in the parking lot of the Chiefs facilities.  Just because Jovan Belcher is a popular NFL player, we must not lose focus of the real tragedy of the situation: An innocent woman has been murdered at the hand of a man with a gun. Whether or not that man is a professional football player we must not look past the truth, he is a murderer. What’s worse is that Belcher and Ms. Perkins had a 3-month-old child who now does not have her parents.  This incident is a true tragedy that affects so many lives. 

Jovan Belcher, originally from Long Island, New York played football in college at Maine. In 2008, he signed as an undrafted free agent to the Kansas City Chiefs. For the next four years he remained on the practice squad until this year where he moved up to the starting position and played all 11 games. It takes an incredible amount of talent, and strength to play in the National Football League, to see someone with all this take his own life is almost too much to handle for most. We may never understand why Jovan Belcher took the life of his girlfriend and his own, but we do know that we must find a solution so this never happens again.

The best way to honor the life of Ms. Kasandra Perkins, a woman who had everything taken from her, is to ensure this never happens again. In order to find the solution, we must identify one possible problem: The pressure put on professional athletes. Kansas City Mayor Sly James told CBS, “Were talking about kids that are 24, 25, 26 years old, playing in circumstances that most of us never dream of and living lives in fishbowls and sometimes that becomes unbearable.” The pressures are great for an NFL player; pressure coming from coaches, fans and the media can be just like the mayor described, unbearable.  

Growing up in Buffalo my whole life, I know the situation all too well, when in Super Bowl 25, Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood had the chance to kick the game-winning field goal and give Buffalo their first Championship ever. Norwood missed wide right. Till this day, Buffalonians never forget the “wide right” Super Bowl. We all have a favorite team, and we all want them to win but we have to understand that at the end of the day it is just a game. I have heard the argument before, these players are professionals, and it is their job to handle the pressure. False. Yes, it is their job, and yes, they get paid to play, but it’s not worth it to put the pressure the fans and the media does. 

It has come up recently the debate over guns. Gun control, and their place in society. Now their place in the locker room has come into question. Believe it or not, but according to numerous players, the NFL is loaded with guns. Professional athletes are a target for a multitude of reasons. Guns are seen as a form of protection for them. Their fame, their wealth, and their residence are no secret. Every day they are faced with the pressure of someone trying to hurt them. NFL players indisputably are faced with threats, and should absolutely legally carry a form of protection. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and it is unfortunate that they often use guns to do so. You certainly would not say that guns killed Osama Bin Laden, not the Navy Seals. The threats that players encounter adds to the pressure that they are forced to endure. In some, the pressure builds till they go off, when all they really want to do is play.

These players play because they have a love for game. They are very strong and very tough both physically and mentally. I am not saying that the pressure was what caused Belcher to take his own life, we may never know what was the true reason is. But we must make sure that this never happens again. Yes, it is their job, yes, they are getting played, and yes, we should demand their best, but everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has hard times, and struggles. I believe that players should be criticized for that, but only to an extent. We, as fans, and the media, often forget the difference between criticizing a man and tearing him down.