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BARKER ISLAND… Saturday morning as I was having some coffee, halfway listening to some college football warm-up shows, and reading some news online, the news first came across that an NFL football player from the Kansas City Chiefs had shot his girlfriend, then departed that crime scene and gone to the club’s practice facility, where he somehow came across the team’s coach Romeo Crennell and team GM Scott Pioli. At that point, some conversation ensued, and then the player, Jovan Belcher, calmly thanked both of them for all they had done for him and turned the gun on himself.
The player’s girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, died, as did Belcher. The couple is leaving behind a 3-month-old baby girl. Perkins’s mother witnessed the tragedy firsthand. I’m not a Chiefs fan and didn’t really know much about Belcher at that moment. From what I have read about him since, it seems as if he was a nice, somewhat quiet, unassuming young man. He had never been a troublemaker of any sort, and people who knew him would have never expected this kind of behavior from him.
I’m not sure if the NFL considered postponing the game, but the team’s coaches and captains decided to press ahead and play the Carolina Panthers anyway. I can understand that a bit. You could sit around and be depressed about the actions of the day, or go back to work and get your mind off them. I saw some scathing columns, though, chastising the league and the teams for going ahead with the game under the circumstances. As sad and macabre as an incident like this is, especially for the victims and families left to deal with it, I hate to admit it but I just kind of shrugged my shoulders.
Perhaps my collective number of years here and the experience of our contemporary times have desensitized me to violence of this sort. I mean, it’s on the TV and radio every freaking day, isn’t it? I would like to have compassion, but it wasn’t personal for me. How often do we hear of professional athletes in the NFL getting caught with handguns in places they are not supposed to have them, or aren’t registered or licensed to carry them? There was a stretch of time where it seemed to be pretty frequent, particularly in the declining years of commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s tenure.
But the new commish, Roger Goodell, made it clear right away that he wasn’t going to put up with the bad-boy behavior of some of the league’s employees any longer. So things have changed—or gone underground. I’m not sure. Regardless of my personal reaction, this is a sad event. A baby will grow up without her parents. A young woman with her whole life in front of her is gone. She will show up as yet another statistic on the ledger of domestic violence. In spite of some slow progress in that battle, it remains a very distressing problem.
If you don’t think so, consider that the victims of this are your mothers, sisters, and daughters, and in some cases, men. If you know somewhere this is going on, you need to intervene. It matters not if you know the victim, perpetrator, or both. Do the right thing. Expose it and stop it. For the young Belcher, I have nothing but question marks. Why is the most immediate one. It is hard for me to care about him as he so callously took the life of another for no real reason, other than that she came home later the night before than was to his liking.
But then, this wasn’t his usual behavior. By all accounts, it wasn’t him that committed this senseless act. What was going on with him internally that made him snap? Will human psychologists or analysts ever have the answers to these types of events, or is this just some sort of innate flaw that has been and will be with the human race forever? Humans have proven over and over throughout time that they will kill with or without weapons. In a society where weapons appear as easy to get as making a trip to the drive-thru, are we going to be infinitely treated to stories of this nature?
For most of us, this will go through our internal news cycle in a matter of days. For the victims left behind, some will adapt after grieving, and some won’t. There will never be another “normal” day for them again. But with events like this happening all around us much too often, is this the new normal?
IN THE WCHA OVER the weekend, the Bulldogs traveled to the UP and came back with three out of four points after trouncing the Huskies on Friday eve and tying on Saturday night. The Gophers split with Omaha, putting up a lethargic game on Friday before coming back with a strong game the next eve. The Cheese went out to Denver for a pair. I thought the Pioneers would sweep based on recent performances by Bucky, but then again, DU dropped both games to Eastern foes the weekend before. The Cheese ended up with a three-point weekend and the Pioneers are reeling. Kato took two tilts from BSU at home, NoDak split with CC, and The Cloud split with Alaska Anchorage up at the 49th state.
I look for the remainder of the league season to be very tightly contested. I think there will be few sweeps, with three-point weekends and splits more prevalent than sweeps. There will be one more big week of league games before things splinter a bit for the holidays, then the race to the finish. Every goal, every game, and every point will be an absolute battle for the rest of this season… PEACE
THE MFAN NFL PICKS FOR WEEK 14:
(HOME team in CAPS)
Denver over OAKLAND
Goatmen over BUFF
CINCY over Boys
BROWNS over Chefs
TAMPA over Eagles
Balt over WASH
Atlanta over CARO
J-e-t-s over JAX
INDY over Tenn
VIKES over Bears
STEEL over San Diego
SAN FRAN over Fish
SEABIRDS over Cards
NY G-MEN over Saints
Houston over PATS
CHEESE over Lion
WEEK 12: 9-7
WEEK 13: 9-6 (incomplete)
OVER & OUT!
Marc Elliott is a freelance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County News Chronicle for ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710AM in Duluth.