American professional suicides (see "NFL Suicides: 12 in 25 Years") are back in the news.
Following two violence incidents yesterday - one murder-suicide initially said to involve arrows in a location rich in Indian-soldier conflicts and another of a university football player being shot - a football player on an Indian-monikered NFL team killed himself at Arrowhead Stadium on the morning of December 1, 2012.
In an apparent murder-suicide, a Kansas City Chiefs player shot himself in the head in front of his coaches at a team training facility after earlier shooting to death his girlfriend at her residence, police said.
Kansas City, Missouri, police spokesman Darin Snapp identified the player as linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, who played football in college at the University of Maine. Belcher, from West Babylon, New York, played at Maine from 2005-08. He graduated from Maine in December 2008 with a bachelor's degree in child development and family relations.
Jovan as a boy's name is of Latin origin. Variant of Jove, from Jupiter (Latin) "the supreme God." Jupiter was the supreme deity of Roman mythology, corresponding to the Greek Zeus.
The surname Belcher has its roots in medieval England, and, before that, in France. The name Belcher is composed of two syllables: Bel and cher. In Old French, Bel meant "beautiful or fine." The Middle English word cher (also derived from the Old French) meant an "an expression on the face"; in Middle English, this word was also spelled chere (as in Richard Belechere). A person's mood, especially gladness or joyfulness, as expressed on a person's countenance or face, was called chere orcher, the word we know today as cheer. Cheer denotes gladness or joy. Cheer was also spelled scher, shere, or chire (which is very similar to some of the variant spellings of siror sur, as in Belesur). When spelled cher or chere, the word also referred to good hospitality (such as one would find on the estate of a sir, knight, or gentleman). Thus, the Belcher name refers to a beautiful or fine expression on the face, hospitality, or, in summary, Bel = "good" + cher = "cheer."
Belcher took his life in the parking lot near Arrowhead Stadium as officers pulled up to park and saw him with a gun to his head talking to coaches. Before Belcher's suicide, the player was talking to Chiefs' general manager Scott Pioli, coach Romeo Crennel and an unnamed Chiefs staff member. Pioli and Crennel "never felt like they were in danger." Belcher, reportedly, thanked the general manager and coach for all they had done for him.
When officers arrived, the player walked away from the three Chiefs personnel and "a couple seconds later, they heard the gunshot," Snapp told reporters.
About 20 minutes prior to his suicide, the player shot his girlfriend in her nearby home, Snapp said. The NFL.com reported that Snapp said the mother described the relationship as "on-again, off-again."
The Kansas City Star, quoting an unidentified friend of Perkins, reported that Belcher confronted his girlfriend after she returned at about 1 a.m. following a Trey Songz concert. The couple had dated about three years and argued frequently recently.
The couple's daughter Zoey, born Sept. 11, 2012, is safe. The baby is in the care of Belcher's mother, who police said lived with the couple in their rented home.
Belcher was in his fourth year with the Chiefs after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Maine. He started 10 of the 11 games he had played this season, registering 38 tackles.
Other Kansas Chiefs players have experienced tragic deaths.
In February 2000, star linebacker Derrick Thomas of the Chiefs died from injuries sustained in an auto accident weeks earlier. Thomas was a Pro Bowler in nine of his 11 seasons with the Chiefs. In 2009, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1983, Kansas City running back Joe Delaney drowned while trying to rescue three children who were struggling in a pond in Monroe, Louisiana. Though an inexperienced swimmer, Delaney made the rescue attempt. Two of the children also drowned. Delaney was a Pro Bowler in his second season with the Chiefs in 1982.
The Chiefs played at home against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and had an emotional win.
More details are surfacing, including the "Belcher spent night with [Brittni Glass] before killing," and that "In college, Belcher punched out window over girl."
More has come out, as well, about Belcher's use of pain meds and drinking to deal with head injuries and behavior outbursts. His football organization, however, noted they did not feel there was any problem in this area. Kansas City Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told the media that "Belcher 'Had Not Had A Long Concussion History'."
Of course, that begs the question, what kind of concussion history did he have? In college? In high school?
Concussions have been linked to suicides and murders of and by NFL players in recent years.