Jeff Pearlman

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Perspective and Jovan Belcher

I don’t want to hear how the tragedy involving Jovan Belcher really puts things in perspective.

I don’t want to see all the Chiefs players wearing No. 59 decals on their helmets.

I don’t want to observe a moment of silence before kickoff. I don’t want to read a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sending “all of our thoughts and prayers to the families.” I don’t want to hear how, after such a nightmare, Kansas City fans needed a game to heal, or to prove that life goes on. After the game, I don’t want to hear a player—not one fucking player—talk about Jovan looking down on us today; how he’s probably cheering from a cloud alongside Joe Delaney and Derrick Thomas.

I don’t want to hear it.

Any.

Of.

It.

Like you, I’m sickened by what happened today. It’s an absolute nightmare; disturbing and heartbreaking and awful. I do, in fact, hurt for the families of Belcher and Kasandra Perkins, his 22-year-old girlfriend. Mostly, I can’t help but think about their 3-month-old daughter—now parentless.

That said, I don’t need the cliche bullshit that comes with sports; the whole game-must-go-on nonsense that comfortably coats us like a warm blanket.

Fact: The game doesn’t have to go on and, frankly, shouldn’t go on. I mean, is this a joke? One day after a beyond-comprehension murder-suicide involving a Kansas City player, the Chiefs and Panthers are going to … take the field. Why? For what? Because the Kansas City players—many of whom have been programed throughout their lives to play through all circumstances—say it’s OK? Because the NFL needs to sell beers? Because fans are bored?

It’s disgusting, and tasteless, and offensive.

And pathetic.

  • Martha Frankel

    Couldn’t agree more. Disgusting.

  • http://nashvillesportshub Dirk Hoag

    People act like postponing an NFL game would cause the world to stop turning. Back in 2005, an NHL player collapsed on the bench and nearly died; the two teams postponed the duration of the game and made it up a couple months later:

    http://nashvillesportshub.com/chargers-panthers-game-should-be-cancelled-after-k-c-tragedy-1395

    Heck, even if they don’t have common decency, there are player safety issues to consider. If players close to Belcher aren’t able to focus 100% on the game, they could very easily get hurt. Isn’t player safety supposed to be Goodell’s cause?

  • Chris

    Totally agree.
    The guy’s a murderer, plain & simple.
    Let’s not glorify him.

  • http://www.computerconciergeny.com Mike Klubok

    I agree with you 100%. This game absolutely should not be today and needed to be rescheduled. There are things that go beyond the game and this is one of them.

  • Dave

    Well said Jeff.

    I had hoped that good sense would prevail, and that the game would be postponed. What was I thinking?

  • The Mighty Quinn

    The best way to dismiss this shitheel’s selfish and horrible behavior is to not allow it to affect even one more person than it already has.

    Every single football fan who has the strength and simple human dignity to persevere is worth 50 of this guy. These fans shouldn’t have their lives impacted by a maladapted piece of trash who couldn’t hack it as a man, as a professional athlete in a rough economy, and as a father.

  • Jeff

    I get the point but wouldn’t declare Sports a monopoly on responding to atrocities with idiotic cliches.

    Listen to the awkward things people try to say at a funeral. Its not even their fault, there’s nothing that can be said or done to make something this horrific any better.

    The world quickly moves on whether we are here or not. That’s a depressing reality not limited to the NFL. Had Belcher worked at a major big box retailer or a 4,000 room hotel, they would also be open for business today.

  • Todd

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said, Jeff. Going on with the game is tasteless.

  • Rob

    You are absolutely right obviously, however regarding y our last point…80000 (or whatever the capacity is) filled the stadium,(and countless more on tv), bought the beer, observed the silly moment of silence, and said “yea man thats right” when they heard the endless and stupid fucking empty cliches..

    We are the product, WE are responsible…WE are the ones without the soul…

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

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