It’s been five days since Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, following that by driving to Arrowhead stadium and committing suicide in front of Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and LB coach Gary Gibbs. Authorities released the 911 call placed by Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, while Belcher was already gone from the scene.
Belcher waited for police sirens to be heard while Pioli and others were trying to persuade him to not go through with what he planned to do. Belcher kept saying that he had to kill himself and he can’t be here. He knelt down by a car, made a sign of the cross and shot himself in the head.
She’s still breathing but please hurry. I don’t know how he (inaudible), they were arguing, please hurry. Stay with me, the ambulance is on the way. Stay with me Kasandra, stay with me. He left.
The Chiefs players planned a fund to support Zoey, the daughter of Belcher and Perkins, who was placed in the temporary custody of Belcher’s mother. The NFL will also provide for the girl, who will receive 108,000 annually over the next four years, $48,000 in the fifth year and then $52,000 each year until age 18. She’ll continue to receive that amount until age 23 if she attends college. The beneficiary of Belcher also will receive $600,000 in life insurance, plus $200,000 for each credited season. There is also $100,000 in a retirement account that will go to his beneficiary or estate.
Since 2011, Belcher is the sixth NFL player to commit suicide, following Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, Junior Seau, Kurt Crain and OJ Murdock. Autopsies of Duerson and Easterling indicated they had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head. All the NFL players died of self-inflicted gun shots.
The season for the Chiefs is lost. It was lost a long time ago, but this tragedy, which raises questions once again regarding domestic violence and the health, physical and mental, of NFL players and the steps taken to prevent them from becoming walking wraiths in the aftermath of their playing career, will be with us, with the people affected and with everyone who plays and works for the Kansas City Chiefs a long time.
After the win against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, only their second this season, Brady Quinn spoke about Belcher and shared his view on the tragedy, and what it tells him about himself, and us.
The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people. I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it?
When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us.
Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.