Thursday, 06 December 2012 17:04

Jovan Belcher horror reality raises issues of NFL, domestic violence, priorities

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belcher     I am torn when reading stories like the tragic murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs'' player Jovan Belcher. My first reaction is sadness that such a thing can occur at all, no matter who is involved. But my emotions move to resentment that a real-world event has invaded our little sanctum sanctorum that sports provides us.



For a brief time, sports  allows us to escape from the reality of crime, poverty, hunger and war. Although fans become overly invested in the outcome, wins and losses don't really affect us much beyond smiles or frowns on Monday morning. The only real effect on the fan is how much will a victory cause ticket prices to go up next year? And we are willing to accept that.

     But when our escape from real life is violated by reality, we must take a time out from our selfish reverie to determine what it really means. The case of Javon Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins (the mother of their three-month old daughter), has raised in us the awareness and tragedy of domestic violence. Such cases are present in our society at a rate that most of us either ignore or do not concern ourselves with. They occur daily, and we are steeled by their frequency. When it happens to someone within the cult of celebrity, we take some notice.

     Most of us have never heard of Belcher, a backup linebacker who played on special teams, but we know the Chiefs and the NFL, and that makes it personal to us. Although we might read about a similar tragedy occurring in our town, we usually move on to the next story without a wave or a look back. But the Belcher tragedy at least makes us pause and say "what a shame" before we move on to the comics or the entertainment page. And the next logical question we should ask is "what can we do about it?"

     Sports Illustrated’s media writer Richard Deitsch took another view of the incident, namely how CBS mishandled the reporting of the event in its Sunday pre-game show. It was, according to Deitsch, shameful. To read Deitsch's column, click here:


Jim Miller's new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is now available in local bookstores, at and at his website:




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