Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide has struck a nerve that I cannot ignore. It was called a tragedy, but it was far more. I’m amazed it wasn’t called out as the crime it was. The Washington Times carried
an article citing this type of violence as an NFL problem.
Most sports figures are not violent. With the huge amounts of money in the world of professional sports, however, there is way too much temptation for management to gloss over issues involving players’ behavior off the field.
Way back in 1994, I was horrified to learn that O.J. Simpson was suspected in his ex-wife’s murder. Though I don’t follow football, I had thoroughly enjoyed O.J.’s antics in the Naked Gun movies, as well as his appearances in the Hertz commercials with an old woman yelling “Go, O.J., Go!” I saw the public face he and his handlers wanted me to see. Imagine my shock to learn about the real O.J.!There are 9-1-1 tapes of Nicole Brown Simpson’s pleas for help when O.J. threatened her, including once when he broke down her door. The police failed her, probably because of O.J.’s fame.
Fast-forward to 2012. How many times did Jovan Belcher threaten his girlfriend prior to killing her? Had she just told him she was through with him? Had the police been called on other occasions? Did his coaching staff have knowledge of any of this? Did the coaching staff WANT to have knowledge of any of this?
No person should be protected from the penalty for abusing another, ever. Sports figures should be held to the highest standard, as part of the job involves their superior strength. This will never change until team owners and managers stop putting their bottom line above the protection of victims.