It was a lethal mix of too much, too fast.

Jovan Belcher was 25 and a promising linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs.  His girlfriend, Kassandra “Kasi,” Perkins was 22, pretty and the mother of his three-month-old daughter, Zoe.

But last weekend, what should have ultimately been the couple’s wedding announcement became their obituary. Belcher fatally shot Perkins after an argument before driving to Arrowhead Stadium and turning the gun on himself in front of the team’s general manager and head coach.

According to The Kansas City Star, Belcher said: “I got to go,” and “I can’t be here,” before kneeling behind a vehicle, making the sign of the cross, and shooting himself in the head.

I believe that misogyny was part of that tragic mix – especially if Perkins’ staying out past 1 a.m. at a Trey Songz concert with her friends was indeed the catalyst that caused Belcher to kill her. The Star reported that after he shot Perkins, he apologized and kissed her on her forehead.

However, it also reported that the couple had been arguing about relationship and financial issues for months.

Yet based on what’s been revealed so far, it seems that life was happening for Belcher way too fast, that the physical pain of playing in the NFL and the difficulty of dealing with a turbulent relationship was too much, and because he didn’t have the coping skills to slow it down, he just decided to stop it altogether.

And football doesn’t exactly lend itself to helping young men – men who suddenly have to manage wealth, fame and pain before maturity kicks in – develop those kinds of skills.

Now I realize that no one forces anyone to play football. Yet while I watch the sport, I’ve become increasingly ambivalent toward it over the years.

I feel this way each time I hear about a player going bankrupt because he bought ten cars and has eight baby mamas. Or when I see a retired player struggle to walk, or see one addled by concussions, or hooked on painkillers.

And when I hear a young black man tell me he doesn’t need school because he plans to play pro football, I wonder whether it’s worth the price of a season ticket when so many black men wind up worse off for it.

From what I’ve read so far, Belcher seemed to be struggling to cope, but in a way that fit more with football and not with real life.

It’s easy to see how that can happen.

Football is a sport in which brute strength and being able to control one’s fate through physicality and quick reactions are praised. It’s also a sport in which one has to be able to perform amid the kind of pain that a car crash survivor might experience.

It also requires that the pain be controlled by prescription drugs. And if painkillers don’t do the trick, aching players often add alcohol to the mix.

It’s such a problem that last year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players’ union leader DeMaurice Smith met to discuss what to do about drinking and driving in the league; in 2010, there were 16 DUI arrests among players and around 19 in 2012.

Police investigators say that alcohol may have played a role in the argument between Belcher and Perkins that escalated into murder. Also, one of Belcher’s friends e-mailed, a sports news website, and said that he “drank A LOT. On a nightly basis,” and that he was using medication heavily.

Belcher apparently went over that edge last Saturday morning, when, according to the Star, his mother said she heard him tell Perkins something to the effect of, “You can’t talk to me like that!”

Then she heard gunfire.

Belcher and Perkins had sought counseling through the Chief’s organization, but apparently it wasn’t enough. But I imagine that counseling football players can be tough when the very nature of the sport that consumes much of their life requires them to be tough and impulsive, and to cover their pain with machismo.

So here’s the love story that’ll end at a grave instead of an altar. Here’s the baby girl who was orphaned because her father killed her mother and himself.

All because he couldn’t get past his pain long enough to be there for her future.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at


6 thoughts on “Too Much,Too Fast

  1. I totally agree w/ Eagles. This is some non-sense. A young man trying to become a man and did not succeed. He was a coward first of all and a disgrace to all men. I do not feel sorry for him, but for the young woman’s life he has stolen and the baby that has no father or mother.

  2. Pingback: DISCUSSION: “Too Much,Too Fast” | Praise 1300

  3. Now there is more information coming out saying that the KCPD found Belcher sleep in a praking lot early Sat morning and neighbors called the police because his vehicle was in the parking lot. When they woke him up he states he was waiting for his girfriend to open the door! He called her and someone who was not Kassandra let him in and after he left there he went home and murdered the mother of his child????? There must have been a lot going on in his life I don’t know and neither do any of us. Here is my point two people are dead and the selfish act he commited by taking someone with him if he wanted to die makes me sick to my stomach! If you want to leave this world go ahead but why commit the selfish act and then take someone away from their loved one’s because you can’t cope with life!

  4. tired of the excuses on said:

    Hey, Tonyaa, miss me with the BS and excuses for this boy. I am sick and tired of you and other commentators for BAW and black media in general using these unnecessary tragedies to blame everybody and everything else except the person causing the problems.

    This player, in more than one sense, had more than resources at his disposal to seek the necessary help for his problems. Between the coaching staff, owners, financial planners, counselors, and other peripheral people in the NFL, he had no room to use murder as a last result for his refusal to actually grow the hell up. Remember: he KILLED an INNOCENT WOMAN–Kassandra Perkins–and left their three month old daughter without parents. What options did they have?

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