Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher, murdered his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, who was also the mother of their three-month old daughter, on Dec. 1. He then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in the parking lot in front of several team personnel.
The incident sent a shock wave through not only the NFL, but also any reader that followed the story. The Student met with Brian Krylowicz, the director of the Counseling Center who has been involved in counseling work since 1996, to get his take on the issue and how students can learn from it at Springfield College.
Q: From a counselor’s perspective, what is your take on the murder-suicide involving Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins?
A. “I read a lot of articles about this, [and] part of it was that I haven’t found meaning in this yet. I’m just confused. Just as a human being, you see these things, and you just get confused…on our Facebook page, we linked to a story that was on CNN that talked a lot about anger and how do men express emotions…If you have the ability to find words for it and feel comfortable in expressing and comfortable in dialoguing, I don’t think we get to the point where you end up shooting yourself or shooting somebody else.”
Q: What do you make of the domestic abuse/violence issue revolving around this incident?
A. “Domestic abuse and domestic violence is not a female problem; it’s a male problem. Do more women care about these issues and have been leaders of this? Absolutely. But really where the solution lies is in how men talk to each other. How do we start saying, ‘This is unacceptable.’”
Q: Does domestic violence happen on a smaller scale?
A. “We have relationships on campus. We’ve all seen them where someone stands in front of a doorway because, ‘You need to talk with me; you can’t leave.’ It’s not the shooting of somebody, but that’s the element of it. The grabbing of somebody…the Facebook stalking…I’m not saying this happens here more than anywhere else, but those issues occur here.”
Q: Without ignoring or downplaying the fact that Belcher murdered Perkins, what do you make of the suicide portion of this tragedy?
A. “How does somebody get to the point where they have no option, that this is the only option, that this is the way to stop the pain? …I think the concept [is] that people can be really decent, they can do well in school, they can be happy, they can go out of their way, but inside, they’re not doing well…We live in an age where we’re in constant communication, but we don’t talk much. Facebook is not going away, texting is not going to go away…but where do we add in, it’s just fun to sit with someone and really talk about what’s going on.”
Q: Do you think that sports can serve as a small step for some, but not all people in the process of beginning to move on?
A. “Kansas City is just going through a miserable season as a football team, but they didn’t need to lose 60-0. It just wasn’t the weekend you wanted that to happen to them. [Their victory] doesn’t take away anything [from the murder-suicide]…The line that drives me nuts, and I didn’t watch enough that weekend to hear it, but I’m sure someone said it, ‘Well, this puts sports in context.’ No it doesn’t. It never does. The next weekend, we go back and act like our fantasy football team is the most important thing ever. It doesn’t put anything in context. I’d love for us to really go, ‘What is the context of this? How do we not walk away from this trying to find the easy answers?’”
Q: Are sports as a culture blown out of proportion at times in our society?
A. “You can say similar things about the movie culture. Why do we care if Tom Cruise is gay? Who cares? We only care because he’s Tom Cruise. It’s the notoriety.”
Q: What should students take from this tragedy and learn from it?
A. “All I want is people to talk about this stuff, get this stuff out of the shadows…let’s start dealing with the hurt. Let’s get this stuff out there.”
The Counseling Center is located in the Towne Student Health Center. It is a free, confidential and professional service that offers students individual attention and help for any of their needs.