NFL Chiefs play on schedule, a day after apparent murder-suicide
(CNN) — The show went on. One day after police say Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend and then himself, the team faced off against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, December 2nd, as scheduled.
Immediately after the apparent murder-suicide, there had been some question as to whether the game would happen.
It did, though a moment of silence was held before play got under way, and the mood at Arrowhead Stadium was somber.
“I think they made the right decision to play the game because you got to continue on. Life goes on. It’s a tough decision, but I think they made the right decision,” said Mark Mendenhall, a long-time Chiefs fan.
Mike Beisner, another fan, said he felt there wasn’t really a right or wrong choice.
“I think either way, the fans would have supported the decision. I think the league would have supported it,” he said.
The Chiefs beat the Panthers 27-21, a welcome boost to the struggling team’s record, now 2-10.
After the game, Chiefs Coach Romeo Crennel spoke to his players in the locker room, congratulating them on their win and for sticking together.
“Really good, you overcame a lot. You stuck together as a team like we talked about — helped each other,” he said. “Family and friends, you relied on those people. You relied on your faith to help get you through this, and we got through it.”
“The win was a really good win,” Crennel said.
So far, police have said little about what happened Saturday. What is known, they say, is that linebacker Belcher, 25, killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, before turning the gun on himself just outside the front door of the Chiefs’ practice facility.
He and Perkins left behind a 3-month-old daughter.
Before Saturday, Belcher’s name had never come up with police, nor had officers ever been called to the residence where the first shooting occurred. But later, they learned the football player and his late girlfriend “had been arguing,” including “before the shooting occurred,” said police spokesman Darin Snapp.
Belcher, a 6-foot-2, 228-pound left-inside linebacker, spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Chiefs, who signed him as a free agent out of college. In all, he played in 59 games, including 44 starts.
Belcher was from West Babylon, New York. He played for the University of Maine Black Bears, where he started in all 45 games of his four-year career.
Asked about the apparent murder-suicide, Jo Brown, another Chiefs fan, described the situation simply as sad.
“It’s sad for that little baby,” she said.
In a separate weekend incident, an employee of the Cleveland Browns organization killed himself, authorities in Cleveland said. Eric Eucker was a member of the groundskeeping staff, “a good friend and colleague, and an outstanding employee,” said team spokesman Neal Gulkis.