The phrase 'a story that trancends sports' is over hyperbolized, and over-utilized to become part of our vernacular for any sporting moment that piques this interest of the general public. It's a phase that's applied to Tim Tebow, and Jeremy Lin, but when a moment surrounding sports becomes truly transcendent it's often due to something tragic– whether that's O.J. Simpson, Pat Tillman, or the animalistic way fans treated Steve Bartman, normally when a story becomes 'transcendent' it's not a good thing.
For the Carolina Panthers there has only been one transcendent moment, the events that took place in 1999 and 2000 in which Rae Carruth conspired to have his girlfriend, Cherica Adams murdered. Carruth is an indelible black mark on the organization that finds a way of getting brought up every time an opposing fanbase wants to skewer the Panthers. Fans can shrug it off, walk away from the situation, and externalize it– for the boy left behind, 12-year-old Chancellor Lee Adams, he cannot. When the former Panthers WR planned to have his girlfriend killed, he also planned to extinguish the life of his soon-to-be son, as Chancellor, then just a month from reaching term had to be delivered by way of emergency Cesarean, rescuing the boy from his dying mother. Ultimately Chancellor suffers from cerebral palsy as a result, but he's alive.
In spite of the darkness that surrounded these events, there is light, and in a week where we are all likely reflecting on tragedy it seems apropos that Thomas Lake of Sports Illustrated is publishing a piece focusing on Chancellor, entitled "The Boy Who Lived". I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the story, and it's an emotional, beautifully written piece that deals with the horrors that took place, but also is a tale of forgiveness on the part of Cherica Adams' mother, and a tale about a brave 12-year-old who survived, despite the odds being against him. I strongly suggest you read the piece when it hits newsstands.