Thursday, December 6, 2012

High School Athletes Learn from Chief's Linebacker

I enjoy reading Michael Arace's column in the sports section of the Columbus Dispatch. He often offers a different view than mine, but I find his writing enjoyable. Today his article was about Jovan Belcher's murder of his girlfriend and his own suicide. Most of the commentary focused on the words of Brady Quinn, but what I found was nothing was said of his girlfriend or his where abouts the night before the morning of the shooting of his girlfriend.

The morning before Belcher was found sleeping in his car outside an apartment building10 miles from his home that he shared with his 22 year old girlfriend, the mother of his three month old baby. The police checked the situation about 2:50 a.m. and found no problems. He told police that he was there to visit his girlfriend, but no one was home. Later he made a call and a short time later, a woman let Belcher into her building. He left about 6:30a.m.

At 7:50 a.m. police were called to Belcher's hme after he had shot (multiple  times) and killed his girlfriend. Later he drove to Arrowhead Stadium, met the general manager and the head coach Romeo Crennel. He thanked them for all that they had done for him. When officers arrived, he moved behind a vehicle. Belcher then knelt down and shot himself once in the head.

My goodness, there is a great deal of sadness. Why did his friends not do more to relate to him. What drove him to murder his girlfriend? Anytime I hear a siren, I say a short silent prayer to myself, because somebody is going through a degree of saddness. It is just what I do. Besides the sadness of two deaths, but the act of domestic violence also brings sadness to me.   

Of course, any time a life is lost, I have sympathy. Losing someone close to you changes your life forever. But I have a problem.  We have had a sportscaster call for more gun control, which was out of place. Some wonder if his problems were caused by concussions from playing football. Every problem a pro football player has today, seems to go back to concussions from playing football. People have mentioned how far he has come in his life. But very few people have talked about domestic violence. Gun control, yes, but not much said about domestic violence.

There was a brief moment of silence at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday befre the game. Thank goodness the silence was for 22 year old Kasandra Perkins. It was not for the Jovan Belcher who murdered the three month old baby's mother. Also, a blessing that none of the players did anything to recognize their teammate.

Having never hit my late wife in thirty years of marriage, I cannot relate to domestic violence. Having very few "get-in-your-face" shouting matches, I cannot relate to domestic violence. NBA analyst Charles Barkley said,"There's never a reason to hit a woman, touch a woman or, obviously, kill a woman." I agree. I saw it as a teacher. Never really saw a boy hit a girl, but I saw the disrepect and the yelling at times. To me, this is the beginning. Actually, years ago I saw the results from a girl getting hit many times by her jealous boyfriend.

Just last summer, a college football player was accused by his girlfriend of throwing her against the wall and pushing her down a flight of stairs. Later, the girl recanted her story. Where there is smoke, there is fire.  Of course, domestic violence goes on and most of it is not reported. When it is reported, sometimes, it results in "he said;she said." 

The lesson that I hope young people learn from this blog is to respect women of all ages. A 25 year old pro football player with a bright future was on his way to stardom. Obviously, he had access to money from playing the game. I assume he was respected by his teammates. A woman loved him enough to have his baby. The same can be said for a young athlete. He may be a really good athlete. He may be very popular. He may have a great future. But having all of this going for him, gives him no freedom to use a form domestic violence. No person, athlete or not, has the right to hit a woman. For young athletes, this could also eventually lead to domestic violence.

Start early showing respect for women of all ages. Domestic violence is a sick thing for men to do. You know, I do not know if I would call them men. Do not make excuses. Do not blame stress. Do not blame drugs. Do not blame alcohol. Do not blame the "big time image." Do not blame your father, because he was a violent husband. Do not blame "rejection by a girl." As far removed as this sounds, "You never know how far a temper can take a person. " Scary, but true. 

1 comment:

Healthyandhappy said...

It has been a state law in Rhode Island that we teach Dating Violence from grade 6 - 12. Here is the link to the report card for Dating Violence http://www.breakthecycle.org/state-law-report-cards
Hopefully the NCAA will partner and create a program for athletes to take regarding the Violence.