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Jovan Belcher Thoughts
Published on December 3, 2012 by Sara Foss

There are a lot of things that are troubling about the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide.

Over at Slate, Justin Peters writes that the NFL has a domestic violence problem, and that the Belcher murder-suicide is merely the latest, and one of the most horrific, examples of it. Personally, I am sure that the NFL would prefer that its players not beat their wives or girlfriends. But that doesn't mean they're doing what they need to do to punish players involved in such incidents, or develop programs designed to reduce them.

Because the Belcher story is so horrific, it's appropriate to question why the Chiefs game wasn't just cancelled, which is how normal humans would react to a murder-suicide committed right under their very noses. Lest we forget, Belcher killed himself in front of his coach. Over at The Nation, Dave Zirin suggests that the NFL really blew this one.

"The pretense of both the NFL and Chiefs owner Clark Hunt for playing as planned was that the team captains and Coach Crennel wanted to take the field. Even if we accept this at face value, and we shouldn’t in a league as tightly controlled as the NFL, it’s difficult to understand why this was their decision and not the decision of the league in conjunction with mental health professionals. The Chiefs and the NFL are also taking pains to say that professional grief counselors would be present at the game. I have not been unable to unearth who these people actually are and what their credentials might be, but how serious can they be about their presumed oath to “do no harm” if they are sending Chiefs players into harm’s way under relative states of shock? I have interviewed a great many NFL players and they always say that the playing field is most dangerous when you are distracted. It’s difficult to not see the NFL’s insistence that this is the decision of the Chiefs organization alone as an exercise in public relations as well as a shield against their own liability."

And, finally, there's the victim: a young woman named Kasandra Michelle Perkins, whom Belcher murdered before killing himself. With all the speculation about whether concussions contributed to Belcher's state-of-mind, there's been little discussion of Perkins, who certainly deserves better than being a footnote in an ongoing story about brain injuries and whether playing a violent sport contributes to violent behavior off the field. For more, visit this piece over at the Feminist Wire and Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon.

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