2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Column: Chiefs got past game, but still must heal

    2012-12-05 02:48

(Eds: Sports Columnist Jim Litke is on vacation. This is a replacement column. With AP Photos.)
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP National Writer

They played a football game in Kansas City the other day.

Even as the headlines fade, the question remains.

Was it the right thing to do given the tragedy that happened 24 hours earlier?

There's no playbook for this sort of grieving. A Chiefs player killed his girlfriend - the mother of their infant child - then turned the gun on himself in front of the head coach and the general manager. The second half of the murder-suicide took place at the team's training complex, right next door to Arrowhead Stadium.

The next day, the Chiefs reported for work in that very stadium for a game against Carolina. Won it, too, for just their second victory of the season. Afterward, everyone talked about the cathartic effect of taking the field - as a team, as a family - in the face of such a heinous act.

But, really, was it proper to play on?

I was downright adamant on the day of the game. No way they should've kicked off. Even got into a spirited debate on social media with some friends.

Now, with a couple of days to reflect, time spent talking to several experts on grieving, I can see the value of playing what was a meaningless game in the standings between two teams going nowhere.

With one big caveat: Please recognize that lasting peace can't be found between the lines.

All those who felt it was necessary to play, from GM Scott Pioli to coach Romeo Crennel to the 53rd man on the roster, need to man up in a different way in the days, weeks and months to come. For the rest of their lives, really, because this is something that will remain with all of them to some degree until their time is up.

Be sure to address what are surely feelings of sadness and anger, maybe even a little guilt. Take time to deal with the questions running through your own mind about why Jovan Belcher did what he did, even if deep down you know the odds of uncovering a logical answer to a senseless crime are slim at best.

``It takes time,'' said Jay Wade, a psychology professor at Fordham University in New York, ``to deal with whatever feelings are associated with this major thing that happened. You can't just say, `Suck it up, go ahead and play the next game.' On the one hand, I think it's understandable they played the next day. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

``But,'' he added, ``later on down the line, if you don't take time to deal with that tragedy, that trauma you've experienced, it probably will affect you for a long time. No doubt.''

All athletes are taught to be strong, football players in particular. On every play, they are attempting to prove the guy across the line is weaker than they are.

But when it comes to dealing with Belcher's crime, a little vulnerability will go a long way for these large men.

``Our culture still creates the mentality that `big boys don't cry, big boys don't talk about sensitive things,''' said James Overholser, who teaches psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and has been doing research on suicides for 25 years. ``That's the real problem. That's what puts males at elevated risk of something like suicide.''

A couple of Atlanta Falcons players were asked Tuesday if they would've wanted to go ahead with the game under similar circumstances. There were no easy answers.

``That's a tough call,'' cornerback Dunta Robinson said. ``I can't even imagine that going on here and how I would respond as a player, but I think as players and as an organization, (the Chiefs) did what they thought was best for them. They went ahead and played the game. They won the football game, so hats off to them for the way they handled it.''

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan went through a double-tragedy during his previous job in Denver. Less than two months apart in 2007, cornerback Darrent Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting and Damien Nash collapsed and died during a charity basketball game.

``People say, `Hey, maybe you can occupy your mind for at least a few hours and kind of get away from that grieving process if you can,''' Shanahan said. ``But there's not an easy way to deal with it. I've dealt with it a couple of times, and it's as hard as it gets, especially when you're very close to somebody. But it's something you've got to work through, it's part of life. Nobody likes it, but sometimes I think it's therapeutic'' to go ahead and play the game.

But the shared experience of sport can't overshadow what the individual is going through. Todd Farchone, a research professor in the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, said it's easy to understand how everyone got on board with taking the field in Kansas City, even if that wasn't necessarily the way every one of them would've handled it.

``I can imagine being a fly on the wall in that meeting and hearing all the different perspectives,'' Farchone said. ``Some people, as the decision was being made, probably wanted to do what's best for the team. But people deal with grief in different ways. Some want to get back to work immediately and throw themselves into things they need to do. Others might want to go through a lengthier process, to deal with the loss immediately.''

After thinking this out, I realize my feelings on what was appropriate this past Sunday aren't so cut and dried.

Really, there's no right or wrong when it comes to grieving.

All I can say to the Chiefs is this: You won the game as a team, just don't forget to take care of yourself.

Talk about it. Cry about it. Grieve about it.

That doesn't make you weak.

That makes you a man.

---

Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

---

AP Sports Writers Joseph White in Ashburn, Va., George Henry in Flowery Branch, Ga., and Arnie Stapleton in Englewood, Colo., contributed to this report.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Steven JacksonDec 22 09:33a

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson (quadriceps) is expected to be ready for Week 17.

Mark SanchezDec 22 08:43a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez will start in Week 17 against the New York Giants instead of QB Matt Barkley, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Johnny ManzielDec 22 03:33a

The Cleveland Browns may look to upgrade the quarterback position in the offseason despite the presence of QB Johnny Manziel. League sources have said Browns general manger Ray Farmer [ More ]

Aaron RodgersDec 22 12:02a

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (calf) tweaked his calf in the Week 16 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but said Sunday, Dec. 21, that he expects to [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Dec 21 09:13p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted eight receptions for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 16 game against the St. Louis Rams. He [ More ]

Alameda Ta'amuDec 21 07:42p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Matthew StaffordDec 21 05:12p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in the Week 16 game against the Chicago Bears. He [ More ]

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is receiving trade interest from the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans landed him, it would alter the 2015 NFL Draft board dramatically.

T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is a long shot to play Sunday, Dec. 21. However, he's going to try to suit up.

DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will play Sunday, Dec. 21, but the team is nervous how well he'll hold up in pass protection. If the team qualifies for [ More ]

Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group