In all the words used to describe the tragic murder / suicide case of Javon Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs, the most succinct might have come from ESPN's Tom Jackson on the Sunday morning pregame show (seen on TSN). A former linebacker like Belcher, Jackson managed to avoid the mawkishness about "a loss in the family" that some sources employed.
Jackson said that, before (Belcher) was a tragic suicide "he was a murderer first."
Jackson reminded ESPN viewers that the real victim was 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, the mother of Belcher's infant daughter. A lot of coverage on the Sunday NFL morning shows focused on the football player. One source even talked in positive tones about Belcher's thanking Chiefs coach Romeo Crennell before shooting himself in front of the coach.
There was talk of losing a family member in their Chiefs community with Belcher's passing. But Jackson found the right tone and the proper perspective on an unspeakable tragedy. Good for him.
Should the Kansas City - Carolina game have been played at all? The NFL could have delayed the game a day or two perhaps, but would the feelings on Monday have been any less raw? There is something to be said for the game (which had virtually no significance in the standings) being played sooner to allow everyone to get on with the grieving process that is inevitable this week.
That was the message received from the Chiefs' players after the game. They were happy to be distracted from the horror of Saturday before what will be an intense week of reflection. Quarterback Brady Quinn was eloquent after the game when he said that, in a social media era, we are so obsessed with the world on our cell phones that we don't see the people and the problems right next to us.
And though it was not said this way on Sunday, you cannot let a scourge like domestic violence win out. With a tragedy this profound, it's human nature to want to retreat from the facts. But stamping out such behaviour demands recognition of Belcher's acts but not succumbing to them. Play the game.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Totally off the path: ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols is the daughter-in-law of famed director / comedian Mike Nichols. Now if we can just get Elaine May's son-in-law a job at FOX it'll be a perfect day.
BEAT THE CLOCK
Perhaps it's us or maybe the gaping chasm left by the NHL lockout. But NCAA college football seems to get better all the time. If you wanted one game to illustrate the damn-the-torpedoes, un-NFL like style of play it had to be Saturday's SEC championship game won by Alabama over Georgia in a cardiac conclusion.
The two defences looked like they couldn't stop a gentle breeze, the coaches called outrageous trick plays on special teams, the fans were bananas and the contest came down to Georgia coach Mark Richt failing to stop the clock in the final 20 seconds with a spike. Instead his QB Aaron Murray threw short of the end zone and time ran out. The Bull Dogs lost in heartbreaking fashion.
The win sends the Crimson Tide to the BCS championship game against Notre Dane and cost Richt as much as $575,000 in bonuses for simply forgetting a simple strategy for the final minute of a game,.
Even the most innocuous news from the NHL lockout is enough to provoke a firestorm from fans. The news was the NHL Players Association distributing $10,000 to each of its members from their union fund. Distributions of this kind (if not amount) are hardly uncommon in labour disputes.
But with fans denied their hockey, the payments have produced yet another source of irritation over the ongoing failure to communicate. The Globe & Mail's comments section on the story is typical of the irritation felt lately.
Samples? "Thank goodness! And here I was expecting to see NHLers at the soup kitchens by Christmas....Whew!!!!" And "Ten grand! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm sure guys like Iginla who have lost millions and just want to play are telling Fehr where to put the ten grand"
Having dispensed with a federal mediator, the two procrastinators in the lockout will meet again tomorrow. Not to tell them their business, but you might want to get some new voices to the table this time.
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT
Perhaps the best perspective came from two hockey fans, one from Raleigh, N.C., and another from Columbus, Oh., we encountered in the pro shop of a golf course on Saturday. "Hey, when you going to get your hockey back?" inquired Raleigh guy when he discovered we were from the frozen north. "We sure miss our team (the Hurricanes). What is it all about, anyhow?"
We'd have filled them in, but a golf game only lasts about four hours.
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