An Unspeakable Act


By Will Martin /

This is saddening and maddening. Three simple words that we only hear when something happens that isn’t supposed to. Three words that remind us that sometimes we don’t always know what’s going on with our next door neighbor, so to speak. Even when you have been given all of the facts and information an outside force decides to come along and throw everything out of whack. All we do in a collective sense is to ask ‘Why?’ Sometimes life refuses to make sense.

I remember how I felt in July 1979 when it was learned that a classmate of mine who was all of 15 committed suicide. We didn’t get along at first but we joked around a lot come the spring. Summertime in Northern Illinois on the heels of an Anti Disco riot at Comiskey Park. Less than one week later we found out that Nelson (last name withheld) put a gun to his head. English teacher Mr. Larsen was stunned. My party buddy Todd Holman broke down and cried. At 15 I couldn’t imagine someone dying like that. Mr. Larsen used those three words.

17 months later while watching a Monday Night Football game in Miami as time was winding down I heard Howard Cosell utter the same phrase when it was learned that John Lennon had been assassinated. 50 million people were saddened and stunned.

This tragedy that has a tendency to happen again and again is not immune to civilian life. Even in the NFL and other sports we have seen this example occur sadly. Girlfriend of Carolina Panther Rae Carruth, Tennessee Titan Steve McNair, and Darrent Williams also come to mind. Remember Lyman Bostock 9/23/78? I know I do.

It happened again today in Missouri a little after 8 am when a three month old baby girl was left alone in this world when Mom and Dad were taken to another place after a moment of misplaced judgment.

It may be a while before we come to understand what happened. Perhaps we may never find out. So many times we see someone or something and think that all is well. Junior Seau comes to mind earlier this year. We didn’t see this coming.

Knowing the way human nature will respond when death happens so suddenly there will be blame, questions, and the unspoken question, ‘Could I have seen this coming? Could this have been prevented?’

In time we will learn more. Perhaps there were underlying problems for Javon Belcher and Kasandra Perkins. Having a newborn baby (born 9-11th ironically) maybe caused a strain in the relationship. Maybe there were warning signs that were never addressed. Money problems, infidelity, being too young to understand responsibility, who’s to say?

It’s never easy to try to understand, explain, or justify murder/suicide. And to go out and take your own life in front of your employers is also equally disturbing, chilling.

Mom and Dad have talked to me many times about how wounded America felt when JFK was assassinated 11-22-63. Dad felt that the innocence was taken away that fateful day. I could only wonder what it felt like for those NFL players who were told to play after the tragedy. That had to be tough.

Carolina Panthers and Chiefs were told by the NFL that yes the game will go on as planned. I ask if that really matters? Football is the drug of choice for so many on Sundays but will anyone in Kansas City be able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand?

For Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel: Seeing a person place a gun to their head and commit suicide after ‘being thanked for all they did’…how the hell do you get past that? To play a game in the space of 24 hours!

There is no right or wrong answer here. Now is not the time. There’s a three month old baby who will never know her Mom or Dad. She’ll only wonder why. We wonder why? Life comes at us pretty fast. May this little girl not fall through the cracks of life. Again those three words that always find a way to reappear. Again I have that numb feeling in the pit of my stomach.

An Unspeakable Act…




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