On Sunday morning, I was talking to Joe Linta, the agent for the late Jovan Belcher, about the state of mind that might have made the Chiefs linebacker shoot his live-in girlfriend nine times with his own mother in the house and then, less than an hour later at the Chiefs' training facility, put the same gun to his head and pull the trigger.
You just know this is going to go off the rails. I haven't read the rest of the column yet, so I don't know for sure, but I have a good feeling.
"In this crazy state of mind he must have been in,'' Linta said, "I truly believe he didn't go to the facility to make a spectacle of himself, or to do anything like Columbine. If you knew the kid, you knew how grateful he was for what he'd been given, with the chance to play in the NFL. I believe he went there for one reason -- to thank them. To thank Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel for helping make his dream of being an NFL player come true.''
Right off the bat, I'm getting an uncomfortable "Let's forget about the fact that he murdered the mother of his own child, and remember him for the wonderful man he really
was" vibe from this. This is what King leads off with? Let's not forget that agents have an interest in painting their clients, even dead ones, in the best possible light. Because everything this guy says, his other clients are going to read. If he shits all over the guy for being, well, a murderer,
it can't help the bottom line of his business.
And what this guy is saying "OH, no, he totally just wanted to drive on up to practice to give Romeo a shout out before killing himself" just sounds like bullshit. Maybe not 100% bullshit, but at least 50% bullshit. The truth is: nobody will ever fucking know for sure what the guy was thinking. I think the one thing that's clear is that he was out of his fucking mind
. So, I don't think there's anything wrong
with speculating what he might have been thinking/feeling (although some may argue, with some merit IMO, that to do so is to inherently attempt to rationalize his ultimately unforgivable act, and that is
wrong), but there is no way to know for sure
. At all. And anyone claiming as much is a liar and an asshole.
Linta didn't know how right he was.
Peter King, ladies and gentlemen.
King then gives a rather long-winded summation of Belcher's rather unremarkable career, and concludes it with this:
And that, until Saturday morning, is all we knew of Jovan Belcher.
Yea, and then he killed someone
. I guess my question is this: if he had distinguished himself as a football player, there'd be no need to give a respectful and thorough overview of his career. And if he hadn't become a well known football player, how on earth does it matter
. I don't know if King intends to do it, but so far he's written about 500 words and used all of them to pay respectful tribute to Belcher. And I find that distasteful. Frankly, I think King should have just led off with a paragraph stating:
"The situation in Kansas City is a tragedy, and the SI community will be sending money to start a trust fund for Belcher's daughter. Since the incident clearly transcends and eclipses football, I am going to leave it to the local authorities, and not dignify it with anything further."
Crennel spoke to me Sunday after the Chiefs game, but he said he didn't want to discuss specifics of what he saw and experienced outside the building. Pioli would not speak either -- to anything. Both men had been debriefed by the police for a lengthy police report, but have not spoken publicly about what happened.
Good for Romeo. Why are we dignifying this shitbag by talking about his football career
At one point while the two men were alone in the parking lot, the source said, Belcher said to Pioli: "I came here to tell you thank you. Thank you for my chance. I love you, bro.''
The source said Pioli tried to calm Belcher, but had little success. At one point, Belcher asked Pioli, "Can I talk to Romeo and Gary?'' Crennel and Gibbs, he meant.
Pioli took out his cell phone and called Crennel, asking him to get Gibbs and come outside. (Imagine what Pioli had to be thinking here: I'm calling two of my closest coaching friends to come out into an open parking lot with an unstable man with a gun, who apparently has shot someone, and is impervious to any attempt to calm him down. How dangerous is that?)
Within minutes Gibbs and Crennel appeared. They, too, tried to calm Belcher, to no avail. Belcher thanked them for his NFL opportunity, and he began to walk away from them.
King has yet to talk about the murdered woman, or the baby he left an orphan.
"I wasn't able to reach the young man,'' Crennel said softly over the phone from Kansas City Sunday.
Belcher walked a few steps away, put the gun to his head, and pulled the trigger.
There will be counselors, for players who felt they didn't do enough to recognize Belcher's desperation, and for the three men who witnessed a man killing himself with a gunshot to the head. The counselors, according to one grief counselor I spoke with Sunday, will probably say something like this: Jovan made a decision by himself, having nothing to do with any of you. To Jovan, personal business had to be taken care of, and there was nothing that you could have done, so you can't punish yourself.
So, judging from the tone of King's piece Jovan Belcher was a hard worker who came from nothing, and was caught in a wave of desperation that nobody understood, so he took his own life in a heartbreaking manner: in front of the men he loved the most.