Editor’s Personal Note
As we begin to unravel and digest the horrific events that took the life of two young adults: one 25 year old Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher and the other, his estranged girlfriend Kassandra Perkins 22, I began to wonder in confusion how Belcher’s mother Cheryl Shepard failed to recognize the signs of terror and puzzled as to why- as an elder and seasoned parent- did not do what was neccessary to creating a safe environment for the infant.
Despite good intentions, sometimes child rearing brings the worst out of first time parents. The daily regimen can be overwhelming for even the prepared parents.
Perhaps the issue may stem from family apathy and yesmanship prominent in the African American family units of professional athletes-being perceived as income sources for immediate families.
Becoming “yes” persons for said athletes is the norm because cash rules. Unfortunately this story subtly reveals the apathy and procrastination that plagues many black family units . Subtract the absence of the male fatherly figure and we have a recipe for domestic violence.
Sadly enough, it is not the first nor will it be the last:
For Dallas Cowboy Tyron Smith the last thing he would have expected was to learn of his mothers extortion attemptTyron Smith Extorted by Mother but this was an expected routine for him to endure. Being raised in conditions so destitute would be extremely tempting to convince ones self that “All problems are over. The money is here.”
Blood is thicker than water, but green trumps everything.
Before we discount my perspective and use newswire cliched cop-outs like: a ” guy dealing with head injuries” or ” alcoholic concussioned syndromhead”, let’s examine the elephant in the room: the presence of Jovan Belcher’s mother, who lived there, who was supposed to alleviate time stressors and allow both Jovan to focus on their relationship, football and “Kasi” on her education and her part time retail income.
The picture painted a couple using resources for counselling and “grandma Cheryl” for baby TLC.
The disturbing aspect of this seemed to be ignored: a mother in the middle of an atmosphere so volatile and anger issues over the last year between two youngsters clearly with different priorities. It would seem a duty as a parent to abitrate and discuss real life custody situations with the two; scare them straight.
But then again, it’s all in the parenting approach:
When I was young, 23, anytime I would even bicker at my then girlfriend in my moms presence, my mother would intervene. “Young folks gotta get it together” she said ” If its not working out split!” she would add. “None of this yelling while im in this house! I will not tolerate this nonsense”.
Words my ego didn’t like but needed to hear.
Perhaps Cheryl felt it wasn’t in her jurisdiction.
Perhaps the fact that he was a millionaire pro football player paying the bills automatically granted him “man of the house” status. This mentality is not uncommon.
Only Cheryl can answer these questions.
The facts are that her son and her ” Kasi” are dead.
I do not know Belcher’s mother personally nor her struggles. For all I know she could have done everything she could and afterall is a caring enough mother to decide to move in with her son to care for the baby.
Perhaps she could’ve done more.
Perhaps we all could have done more to save loved ones.
My plea is to our parents who are lucky enough to have exceptional athletes:
Teach them everything you know. Teach them about women, relationships and the real world. These special athletes are the most vulnerable as they may not be used to real life problems and relationship challenges.
Dads; be there.
Take that extra step;
Intervene before its too late.
Let’s care for others as we care for ourselves.
RIP Kasi. RIP Jovan.