By De’Shay Turner / @iSportPolitics
At this point, nearly all who make up the world of sports aficionados have caught wind of the news surrounding former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. The story is one of domestic violence, sadness, confusion, mystery, despair, broken hearts and camaraderie. There were only a few individuals present on that morning in Belcher’s home, and two of them are no longer among us to provide answers amid the tragedy that has unfolded. There were also only a few individuals present that morning at Arrowhead Stadium. The two who remain from that encounter are left to respond to questions where the desired answers simply do not exist. Even worse though, they’re also left to determine how to best function in this life, after seeing and feeling what none of our eyes or hearts are prepared to process.
I am not a reporter. I did not sit down to write this article with new leads and information relevant to the case at hand. If you find yourself reading for that purpose, I suggest you find a different article. I am also not a medium. I do not have the ability to speak to the deceased in efforts of answering the looming questions that will ultimately assure people that their loved one is somewhere at peace. What I am is a concerned member of the sports community, utilizing the skills I’ve been equipped with to navigate this terrain as best as I’m able to.
My background is in psychology. That background naturally leads me to the questions of “why” and “how.” It is not enough for me to be fascinated by something. My brain is wired to delve deeper. I must get to the bottom of things. With this topic though, I simply find myself stumped. I cannot for the life of me figure out why a 25-year-old man with no record of violence would brutally murder his girlfriend, shooting her a total of 9 times. I also have no ability to calculate what could bring this individual to such anger that he would initiate this action in the presence of his very own mother. That there equation does not compute for me. Similarly so, no roads lead me to resolve in attempting to understand how and why this man could do these things to the mother of his 3-month-old child. And finally, I give up in my attempt to make any sense of how he could end his own life in front of his coach and GM, leaving these men to patch up their emotional wounds and carry on with life as they once knew it.
When analyzing this turn of events, nothing leads me to the answers my brain is searching for. What it does leave me with, though, is something I’d be better suited to focus on. On Sunday via Twitter, an old friend asked me about my thoughts concerning the moment of silence the Kansas City Chief’s held the day following the tragedy. One thing my background has given me the tools do in this case is make an honest effort at understanding multiple perspectives. Here was my response:
This incident has left many in a state of disarray. In light of that, I believe it’s best for us all to understand where others may be coming from in their responses. Family members of Jovan Belcher may be mourning the loss of their loved one, and that’s okay. Family members of Kasandra Perkins may be mourning the loss of their loved one with ill feelings towards her murderer, and that’s okay. Columnist may draft up articles labeling Belcher a coward; they may be right. Other columnist may draft up articles highlighting his qualities; they may be right as well. His Kansas City teammates may shed tears and rally together in camaraderie, celebrating the brother they knew. Many of us have done the same. His former coach and GM may request that reporters not ask any questions regarding what they saw that night. Many of us would request the same.
Woman activists may speak out about the issue of domestic violence in conjunction with athletes. If it could prevent more Kasandra Perkins cases in the future, why not? Researchers may dive in looking for signs of football-related brain damage. If it could prevent more Jovan Belcher cases in the future, why not? Finally, the Kansas City Chiefs may have a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence knowing that thousands of perspectives exist in that stadium alone. Regardless of whom you dedicated that time to, why not?
I do not know what the proper answer is, nor do I believe there is one. It is all subjective. Hearing Brady Quinn speak at that podium Sunday night though left me with a feeling of discomfort. I felt that he placed too much responsibility on himself as Belcher’s teammate. He wished that there was something more he could have done. I wished Quinn didn’t have to respond that way. I wished he had the tools to respond differently, to know that he probably did his best just being a great teammate. But we’re seeing this thing from different vantage points, and he’s just managing the turmoil with the tools he possesses. God bless everyone else doing the same.