Carolina Panthers Monday Morning [Redacted] 12/3/12

Peter Aiken

It's just not right.

I can't tell you how Cam Newton played, or how DeAngelo Williams' first start in over two months went. I don't know if Luke Kuechly added to his impressive tackle total, or whether Greg Hardy continued to take steps to show he's the long-term answer at defensive end across from Charles Johnson. This information isn't available to me because it's 10:40 a.m. on Sunday morning, and it will be over two hours until the Panthers take the field at Arrowhead Stadium in an emotionally charged game for all parties.

Times like this my evaluations (read: misnomers) of a Sunday game being quantifiable as 'optimistic' or 'pessimistic' are trivial and pointless. A three month old girl will grow up never knowing her biological parents, two families are left to grieve, and teammates, fans, coaches, and the public are all left wondering 'why'.

I don't know Jovan Belcher, and neither do you -- in fact, it seems few people really did; that's the tragedy. Movies and television have us believe that murderers are sociopaths and psychopaths, because that's easy to handle. File them away in an untouched cabinet marked 'the other' and conveniently believe that it can never happen to us. What transpired early on Saturday morning may take months to come out, but from all accounts a seemingly happy man chose to kill his girlfriend, and take his own life. Belcher didn't have a long-standing history of violence, which caused Saturday's events to come as a shock to those inside the organization.

Saturday morning's murder-suicide took place, there's no changing that, but whether it was a case of uncontrollable anger, mental illness, or another stimuli -- something happened. My wife is a police officer, and some of my close friends are too. These events happen every single day, and there's a commonality that happy, in-control people don't kill others, and don't commit suicide; unless they're the 0.01% who are pure psychopaths.

There's no way to know if Belcher had a deep seated problem, but if it was an anger issue, or mental illness they share a common thread -- the inability to cope with stressful situations, or behave rationally. If you aren't afflicted with a disorder, then you don't have a bearing on how close people are to their breaking point on a day-to-day basis. In a sport dominated by male ego and strength, it's easy to imagine it would be hard to open up with friends and teammates.

When Vince Young or Terrell Owens make apparent suicide overtures how does the football world react? A back-page mocking of dysfunctional players. These men are supposed to be infallible because they don't have house payments to worry about, or living paycheck to paycheck. They should live carefree lives right?

Rest in peace Kassandra Perkins and Javon Belcher. I'm not one to judge the situation, all I can do is offer my thoughts and prayers. The three month old daughter left behind wont remember any of this, and that's for the best. Finally, for Romeo Crennell, Scott Pioli, and any other member of the Chiefs' organization who witnessed the suicide, or for Perkins' mother who witnessed the death of her daughter, I hope that in time and with support they will be able to return to a semblance of a normal life following the tragedy.

Finally, to those who may feel like they don't have an outlet: Know that life wont get better by ending it. These thoughts are a product of your head, and you can be helped with therapy, treatment, and having an outlet to talk to. If you or someone you love have suicidal thoughts or tendencies, please visit the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at their website ( or over the phone at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Addition: I was remiss in also approaching the topic of domestic violence. Whether there was a longstanding history of domestic abuse in this relationship was unclear, but the events of Saturday morning clearly are.

If you, or someone you know are a victim of domestic violence, there are resources in every state not only to punish offenders, but to protect victims. Please visit the national domestic violence hotline at their website, or by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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