The Killing of Kasandra Perkins by Jovan Belcher

On Saturday morning Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, to death. He then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and shot himself in the head in front of his coach Romeo Crennel and his general manager Scott Pioli.

I've been looking at how the sports media has been covering this and its a little dismaying to see pictures of Belcher smiling and the ever amorphous deploying of tragedy. I think it's worth remembering that Belcher murdered his girlfriend, that what Jovan Belcher did and what Kurt Cobain did are not the same thing.

I understand it's tough, because you don't want to be vengeful, and you also want to be sensitive to all parties involved. But if Jovan Belcher wasn't a professional football player, I think we might see more emphasis on the victim. Maybe this is also about the limits of what sports media can actually do. I don't know

I also think that CTE and brain injury are driving this story from the shadows. Deadspin is reporting that Belcher was suffering the effects of blows to the heads (among other things.) Meanwhile ABC is reporting that he does not have a "long history" of concussions. Of course Chris Henry had no history.

We don't know what happened. We will never know what happened to Junior Seau. For me, that was the problem. The NFL has never been a reliable arbiter on player safety and brain injury. I don't want to sit around with my beer and wings on Sunday and wonder whether my pastime contributed to the murder of a young mother and the orphaning of a little girl. I'm just not up for it.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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