December 3rd, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Opinion: Manhood, football and suicide

Editor's note: Kevin Powell is an activist, public speaker and author or editor of 11 books, including "Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays." E-mail him at kevin@kevinpowell.net, or follow him on twitter @kevin_powell

By Kevin Powell, Special to CNN

(CNN) - My cousin Aaron abruptly typed me the news while we were texting back and forth about other matters: a Kansas City Chiefs football player killed his girlfriend, then went to the team's practice facility and committed suicide in front of his head coach and general manager. Left behind was the couple's 3-month-old daughter, who was in another room when her mother was shot multiple times. Like so many Americans, we were stunned.

We would learn later that player was Jovan Belcher, 25-year-old starting linebacker for the Chiefs, a man and an athlete spoken of in the highest regard by everyone from his high school teammates and coaches to his fellow professional football players. They, too, were stunned.

Indeed, what would lead a man who, by all accounts, loved family, friends and football and had overcome great odds to make the National Football League as an undrafted pick out of the University of Maine to take such shocking actions? A man raised by a single mother, he had achieved so much in such a short period that he had widely been considered a great role model for what could be done through hard work, grit and determination.

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Filed under: Gender • Sports • What we think
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Phlox

    If it is soooo difficult to be a man, then don't be a man. Just be yourself. I wouldn't care what other people think.

    December 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CaesarXIII


    December 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sam Cooke

    He was nothing but a violent african; drugs; alcohol; overpaid football player; and shot that young lady 9 times; these african males are of a violent nature; just look a the prisons. Gangs; violence; drugs; alcohol; nothing but animals.

    December 7, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • MrsK

      Blaming this on his skin color is ridiculous. Also, the fact that you refer to him as "African" shows that you are just a racist. He was an American, whether you acknowledge or like it.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jenna

    How sad. 😦

    December 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dalmaar G. Weekes

    This situation is so vast and wide spread although it is because he was a NFL football player that it is front page news. In many areas of the nations whether suburb or urban. Physical and verbal abuse is rampant and is commonplace in many relationships. What depressing is that in an age of so many media outlets, we arent teaching this generation how to reach out when they are involved in abusive relationships or just how to ask for help when they have relationship problems. We teach and accept violence on every aspect of daily life. Its unfortunate for this lost but will it wake up the a society of superficial and vain false imagery of everything is ok; and wake us up and look deeper in the mindsets that society has posted as normal behavior.

    December 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jorge

    Manhood, football & suicide. The fact that in so many places in the U.S. these three things would be tied together at all is, in light of life's big picture, something bizarre and tragically comical in an insular, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder sort of way. How pitiful.

    December 4, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |