Negley's Nook: NFL tragedy demands attention
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 11:12
I’m not young or naïve enough to pretend that sports have healing qualities. They — like most things — cannot fix what is broken.
He’s what Deadpsin calls “Twitter’s Favorite Anonymous Sportswriter.” His Twitter handle is mysterious, his bio is mysterious and his picture is mysterious. All we know is he’s a lifetime sports columnist.
He sounds off on major sporting news in whatever fashion he so pleases, because as Deadspin always says, he is, in fact, anonymous. Meaning he can say whatever he wants, which is great in this world of scared people who don’t take a stand even though they may really want to.
I’m glad he spoke out — even though he did so under a cloak of invisibility. I just don’t agree with part of his “sounding off” on the events of this past weekend in Kansas City.
Jovan Belcher, a 25-year-old linebacker for the floundering Kansas City Chiefs, shot his girlfriend and mother of their 3-month-old daughter Saturday morning and did so nine times, all in front of his mother, according to police.
After killing the 22-year-old, he drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs were scheduled to play the Carolina Panthers the next day. He killed himself as General Manager Scott Pioli and Head Coach Romeo Crennel stood there, helpless, watching a young man take a life barely lived.
Among many of Mr. Sports Journo’s tweets Sunday, after more news of the tragedy leaked out and the Chiefs ended an eight-game losing streak, he made the aforementioned tweet.
Granted, I am only 21 and it’s not a stretch to say that’s young. I’ll jump out on a short limb, though, and say I am not naïve. Yet I do believe sports have healing qualities and I believe I’ll always hold on to that belief.
It’s been a long semester. I don’t need to go into more detail. It doesn’t have to be true for everyone, but sports helped us deal with it. At least, I believe 99 percent of the people who read this column consistently have had sports help heal them in some way.
Look at Brett Favre and his Monday Night Football performance after his father died. Don’t tell me that didn’t help heal him, at least a little bit. It doesn’t take away the pain, nor does it fix it. His father isn’t coming back and his pain isn’t diminished. But that game, that performance, that night: it helped.
Or what about Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith? Less than 18 hours after learning of his 19-year-old brother’s death, Smith had a game of a lifetime against the Patriots. Why don’t you go and tell him sports don’t have healing qualities.
Call me crazy, but I believe in it all. I don’t see sports as the holy grail of hope or healing, but I do see their place in it.
Call me crazy again, but I believe there is also a place for sports to help fix what is broken.
It might be hard for everyone to admit, but there is an underlying issue here. It’s not that Belcher may have had a concussion or serious head injury because of football. It’s not about gun control in the U.S., as Bob Costas commented on during the Sunday Night Football game.
Those are all things in our mainstream focus. The league is changing rules to avoid hard hits and long-term health problems. The gun control issue is talked about almost every single day.
The domestic violence issue? Nope, not a word.
Sports help fix things that are broken. Sorry if you don’t believe it Mr. Sports Journo, but look at progress made. The NFL wears pink for breast cancer awareness.
Play 60, another NFL program, helps get kids active for 60 minutes a day to fight the growing obesity epidemic.
Why not take this opportunity to help raise awareness for domestic violence? To garner support and take a stand against an issue people leave hidden in the shadows?
We’ve mainly been focused on him these past few days. His life. His struggles. His death.
Where were the voices of support for her family? For her life?
The Associated Press, a media company that covers national stories and shares coverage for those who buy the subscription, had plenty of pictures of vigils for him. People held candles and huddled around his jersey.
What about her? It doesn’t matter what happened between them behind closed doors. It matters that her boyfriend killed her and shot her not once, but according to police, a total of nine times.