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Focus on the child after Chiefs tragedy

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Hub Arkush

harkush@pfwmedia.com
Publisher and editor

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Posted Dec. 03, 2012 @ 12:19 p.m. ET
By Hub Arkush

I would like to state as emphatically as I can that, first and foremost, all of my thoughts and prayers right now are with Zoey Michelle Belcher, and all of your’s should be, too. She is the three-month-old daughter of Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra M. Perkins. According to multiple reports, Zoey is currently with her dad’s mom, Cheryl Shepherd, because her mom was murdered by her dad before he took his own life. I would ask God, please, keep Zoey close and in your heart forever as no child should ever be tasked with the life she’s now been handed.

Next, is there anything at all we can do for “Kasi” Perkins’ family and friends? There is, of course, still a story to be told here, and unfortunately it will be studied and told ad nauseum in the coming days and weeks as the eyes of the world attempt to peer into every detail of this young woman’s life. What we’ve heard so far is she was a good person in a troubled relationship who loved her daughter and the little girl’s father. Never in a million years did anyone that we’ve heard from who knew her imagined her life could end like this.

None of us really know what’s happened to the Chiefs this year on the football field. I actually picked them to win the AFC and go to the Super Bowl, clearly an overly ambitious prediction I’d love to have back if I could — and of course I can’t. But almost everyone I respect in the football business saw them at least contending in the AFC West and I can’t find a pundit, scout or coach anywhere who saw them at 2-10. Does that really matter at all right now? We have to know the pain and heartache every single member of that organization must feel is something no one will ever find on a football field, and we must keep all of them in our prayers, as well.

Google Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennell prior to the early morning of Saturday, December 1, 2012 and every story you find will be about whether or not they should be allowed to keep their jobs. Who cares? On that Saturday morning, they had a young man they had discovered and nurtured over the last four years come to them knowing his football career was over — perhaps he already knew his life was over, too — to thank them for all they had done for him, and then take his own life as they stood just feet away, horrified at what was transpiring and helpless to prevent it.

I have met both men and actually know Pioli fairly well. Perhaps I misjudged their football ability, perhaps not. Maybe it’s been circumstances beyond their control, maybe not. What I can say for a fact is these are two truly good men, and Scott was actually there for me at a time of great loss a number of years ago. I cannot implore each of you enough, Chiefs fans or not, to please be there for them now and for countless tomorrows. Keep them in your prayers as they try to understand this life-changing moment.

Of course there is Belcher. By all accounts I’ve been able to attain, much like Kasi Perkins, he was a good person. Countless relatives and friends have already parroted there was absolutely nothing in Belcher’s past to indicate this evil lurked within him. Unfortunately the few facts we have of this event require he be guilty until proven innocent. But is there one among us who can imagine the confusion, uncertainty and pain he must have endured to lead him to this end? At least for now, we must pray for him, too.

Finally there is the question it took too many just moments to ask. Was damage to Belcher’s brain created by the game he loved at the root of this tragedy? And here’s my answer. In time we may know for sure, or perhaps we will never know. According to almost everyone close to Belcher, there were no signs of any kind this was coming. But for now, please, this one time, leave it alone. This is not a football story. It is a horrible tragedy of life that actually occurs almost daily in every walk of like we can imagine. There will be plenty of time for blame. This once, can we all focus our energy where it is needed the most, on the love and support of Zoey and all of those Kasi and Javon have left behind?

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