I don’t understand and I don’t think I ever will.
I woke up on Saturday morning to the news of Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide. It’s still hard to wrap my head around how he could kill his girlfriend, meet with general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and another coach moments later at Arrowhead before killing himself.
It doesn’t make sense. In the following days, we’ll likely figure out what exactly was going in his life and maybe piece together the puzzle as to why he would do this and leave his three-month old daughter orphaned. Maybe then I’ll have an idea what may be going on, but I know I’ll never understand it.
One of the sad things about the NFL is our perception of these men. Despite the fact that they can do great physical things that most people can’t, we can’t view them as gladiators. They are human beings just like us and sometimes because of the NFL lifestyle, it’s harder to really keep in check with all the problems.
I wish it wasn’t that way, but when a sport is designed to make all of the players look like superheroes, we tend to think that their lives are problem-free. In fact, maybe they have more problems than the average person.
I can’t say what was going on Belcher’s mind and life and I don’t think I would want to know. It’s not for me to know. But I do know that there has to be a more supportive response to incidents like this.
Unfortunately, when this news broke this morning, I decided to read comments on it from different news sources. The readers, for the most part, felt sad and shock about it. But other comments left me puzzled and hurt. Here are a few I came across.
– Couldn’t this idiot have just killed himself and have done with it? What was the purpose of killing his girlfriend?
– What a controlling wimp of a man. If he wanted to take himself out fine….why take another life and leave his own child as an orphan. I will urinate on his grave. This has nothing to do with mental illness or depression. This is a man that acted out of frustration and issues of control. What a p.o.s!
– This guy is a scumbag murderer, plain and simple. If the Chiefs “honor” him with numbers on their uniforms, I am done being a Chiefs fan forever. My heart and prayers go out to the young child, the mother that had to watch her daughter be killed, and any other family that is feeling pain due to this coward and criminal. Screw you, Belcher.
– Nothing more selfish then committing suicide but to drive to the stadium just to thank his coach’s then shoot yourself in front of them?? Wow thinking they could of done without the thanks. Prayers to the poor girl who’s life he took and their young daughter
– should have just killed himself, why take others with you,selfish #$%$, what about his kid, now its parentless and has to grow up with that stigma.
I can understand the frustration and shock from people, but these comments really show how much we don’t get it. Unless you’ve actually been in a suicidal state of mind as a star football player, how can you judge someone for their actions?
Were the actions selfish? Of course it was. Was it wrong? Absolutely. But that doesn’t give us any right to judge and throw stones at a man that was battling some serious demons that we don’t even know about.
This takes me back to Junior Seau’s suicide and how we all were confused. I can hear the same responses from people, calling him foolish and selfish. But none of knew what he was going through.
What about Kenny McKinley? He might have been going through some of the same things that Belcher was going through. And again, it was the same response to him. Selfish, stupid, foolish.
These types of things aren’t meant for the common man to understand. We just never will. What may be going on in an athlete’s life and mind are things that I can’t understand. Mental illness, depression, anxiety are some things are caused by so many factors in an athlete’s life. Could the pressure of being a starting linebacker have played a role in it? Maybe. Could the big financial burden have been a factor? Maybe. Could it just have been problems at home? Maybe.
The one thing that we have to understand is that we don’t understand. I don’t think that we can ever really grasp what goes on in an athlete’s mind. We may think we do, but until we actually can walk in their shoes and see what it’s like, it’s just unfair to judge anyone like that.
We’ll have reports and maybe some kind of scientific studies to see if he was going through any kind of mental issues. Likely then we’ll have an idea. But we still will never truly have a grasp of what really happened.
Maybe it’s my upbringing that I try to take a step back and realize that not everyone is the same. And we can’t treat everyone the same because, well, we all aren’t the same. Let’s not generalize every suicide as if that person is just selfish. There is more to that. And some of it I will never understand, so I can’t place unfair judgment.
I really do believe that there should be a grieving period for the entire organization, especially the three that witnessed the suicide.
And maybe we also need a time to take a step back and re-think our thoughts on this too. It’s a shame that all of this went down, but let’s not be so quick to judge. Because really, do we truly understand what he was going through? I don’t think so.
Let’s continue to pray for the families and friends that are affected by this tragedy.