This morning Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide in Arrowhead stadium. He left behind a family, a career, and nation of fans. Not only is Chiefs nation grieving right now, but the NFL also has to make the decision if the Chiefs should still play the Carolina Panthers tomorrow. I understand why this is a tough decision, but coming from someone who’s been in this situation before PLAY THE GAME.
My junior year of high school we had a classmate die the night before the homecoming game. What should have been a week full of spirit days and festivities ended up being a memory that is surrounded by sadness. Classmates flooded the emergency room that night where they were told their teammate had died. That night I could barely sleep because I was wondering how those boys and fans could participate in a game with such sadness in their hearts. The next day Bruin fans filled the stands, and watched as their football team mourned their classmate the best way they knew how, with a win.
There are a multitude of reasons that they should play tomorrow. First, games this late in the season are difficult to reschedule. Second, they are currently 1-10, so it is not as if they are battling for a playoff spot and a loss could put them at a disadvantage. Third, the fans will come. The suicide did happen in Arrowhead, but that will scare off few true fans. Dedicated Chiefs fans will still arrive and they might possibly sell more tickets than a normal game because of the circumstances. Last, and more importantly they should play the game because there is healing in the game of football.
Football is a game where you can release frustration and anger. Plus, there is comfort in monotony. Let the Chiefs wake up in the morning. Go through their pre-game routine. Put that red jersey on. Lace up their shoes, the same as they did last week. They have 4 quarters to do their job. 4 quarters to forget the media, forget the press, and just play. 4 quarters to memorialize their teammate, their friend, the best way they can. By playing the game they all loved.
I am not a Chiefs fan. I will be a Bronco girl until I die, but I’ve seen the look in a team’s eye the day after they lose someone near to them. Tomorrow I’ll cheer for my Broncos, but I’ll also show some love to Chiefs Nation as they commemorate Jovan Belcher.