Last Sunday morning started like most Sunday mornings in the NFL. Fans across the nation awoke hoping for their teamís victory; players and coaches did the same. Like many fans, people were either reeling in their teamís woes or relishing in their teamís success.
The Kansas City Chiefs and their fans did neither.
Even those who are not NFL fans know the story by now. Kansas City linebacker Jevon Belcher made headlines on a Sunday for reasons that had nothing to do with football.
Rather, Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins had a fight at their home. Instead of the usual run-of-the-mill domestic violence that usually comes from these situations, Belcher shot and killed Perkins. He then drove to Arrowhead Stadium Ė the Chiefís home stadium Ė walked up to his head coach and general manager. He thanked them for helping him, and proceeded to pull the same gun he killed Perkins with and shot himself in the head.
Stories like these do not make themselves up. They are real and tragic. This story, though, has not been given the appropriate style of attention. Instead, news headlines have focused more on Belcher and the Kansas City Chiefs and how they won in the face of adversity. Few stories and commentaries have focused on Perkins Ė or, more importantly, Perkinís and Belcherís three-month old baby who is now parentless.
We do not talk enough about problems that help make violent crimes and murders happen. Instead, we like to focus on the story that happened Ė telling the facts as they happened.
We have an obligation as a civilization to talk about domestic violence and how to decrease it. According to the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, an intimate partner physically assaults 1.3 million women and over 800,000 men each year. Access to firearms increases the chances of an intimate partner homicide by five-fold, and an intimate partner killed nearly two-thirds of females killed by a firearm.
The statistics prove there is an issue that we do not talk enough about. Yet, in the wake of the Belcher murder-suicide, most people talk about how the Kansas City Chiefs won despite the tragedy. Hardly anyone mentions Perkins or the child, referring to Perkins only as Belcherís girlfriend.
Belcherís death however saddening to the Kansas City Chiefs or his family, is less tragic than the death of Perkins and the life their child will lead. Instead of creating memorials for Belcher, people should find ways to help the child. Instead of praising how the well the Kansas City Chiefs played, people should discuss domestic violence, how prevalent it is, and how to prevent it.
It is saddening that Belcher was troubled enough to take his life and Perkinsí life. It is wonderful that the Kansas City Chiefs won and survived an emotional day. But, none of it is as sad as how domestic violence continues to thrive and ruin lives of many people.
As long as we push domestic violence out of the headlines in place of a sideshow story like winning a football game, domestic violence will continue to plague to many people. Instead of worrying about football, we should worry about the violence, the murder, and selfishness it took for Belcher to commit these acts.