Monday’s front page of The Wall Street Journal featured a somber photo of Kansas City Chiefs players with their heads bowed Sunday to remember victims of domestic violence. Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend on Saturday and then drove to the team’s practice facility and killed himself, according to reports.
No doubt, the NFL is a honed PR machine, fully equipped to handle a flood of media for both positive and negative stories, but this is a double-whammy.
With the Belcher apparent killing and suicide, the NFL is taking a smart stance by not discussing the actual incident, but instead focusing on domestic violence in general. The focus on the issue takes the conversation away from the tragedy and creates a teachable moment when discussion on domestic violence is high.
Fans of the Chiefs, who had been wearing black to protest the team’s eight-game losing stream, looked past the miserable performance this season and instead donned red to acknowledge the tragedy and support domestic violence awareness.
Even if this horrible story has some lessons and raises awareness, it also opens other issues about NFL players and the dangerous profession, particularly as it relates to concussions.