Sunday's Panthers-Chiefs Game Should Be Delayed Until Monday Following Tragedy
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On Saturday morning, Kansas City Police spokesman Darin Snapp announced that Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed himself at the Chiefs practice facility, according to The Kansas City Star.
Snapp also reported that Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, 22, before driving to the team facility near Arrowhead Stadium where he spoke with coaches and management before turning the gun on himself.
Belcher, who went undrafted in 2009, worked his way to being a starting linebacker for the Chiefs in 2011.
It was also reported that Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli were among the group of Chiefs staff members who were talking with Belcher outside the practice facility shortly before Belcher shot himself.
The Chiefs are scheduled to host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time at Arrowhead Stadium. The NFL reportedly told the Panthers to travel to Kansas City and prepare for the game to be played as scheduled.
The Chiefs also released a statement saying,
After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow’s game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time.
However, the emotional states of those on the Chiefs coaching staff, as well as the players, should be taken into consideration. The NFL should consider moving the game to Monday.
Allotting the Chiefs an extra day would give members of the Chiefs organization a bit more time to get over the shock that will be reverberating around the locker room over the next few days.
The NFL has routinely given the appearance of a heartless league, and Commissioner Roger Goodell has been criticized for his lack of care for player safety.
Delaying the game would not only give the appearance of showing sympathy for a team in mourning, but would also allow the death of a young woman to be remembered properly.
The NFL has a great opportunity to show its heart. Hopefully it will.
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