I don’t want to hear how the tragedy involving Jovan Belcher really puts things in perspective.
I don’t want to see all the Chiefs players wearing No. 59 decals on their helmets.
I don’t want to observe a moment of silence before kickoff. I don’t want to read a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sending “all of our thoughts and prayers to the families.” I don’t want to hear how, after such a nightmare, Kansas City fans needed a game to heal, or to prove that life goes on. After the game, I don’t want to hear a player—not one fucking player—talk about Jovan looking down on us today; how he’s probably cheering from a cloud alongside Joe Delaney and Derrick Thomas.
I don’t want to hear it.
Like you, I’m sickened by what happened today. It’s an absolute nightmare; disturbing and heartbreaking and awful. I do, in fact, hurt for the families of Belcher and Kasandra Perkins, his 22-year-old girlfriend. Mostly, I can’t help but think about their 3-month-old daughter—now parentless.
That said, I don’t need the cliche bullshit that comes with sports; the whole game-must-go-on nonsense that comfortably coats us like a warm blanket.
Fact: The game doesn’t have to go on and, frankly, shouldn’t go on. I mean, is this a joke? One day after a beyond-comprehension murder-suicide involving a Kansas City player, the Chiefs and Panthers are going to … take the field. Why? For what? Because the Kansas City players—many of whom have been programed throughout their lives to play through all circumstances—say it’s OK? Because the NFL needs to sell beers? Because fans are bored?
A mother named Marina Krim returns home to her Upper West Side apartment expecting to be greeted by the noise of laughter or screaming or crying or whatever the sound of the day is with little children. She opens the door—darkness. No sounds. Walks down to the doorman, asks if he’s seen the nanny and kids. No.
Returns to the apartment. Enters the bathroom. Two of her three kids—a 2-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter—are in the bathtub, dead. The nanny is on the floor nearby, bleeding from a self-inflicted stab to the neck. The nanny, a woman named Yoselyn Ortega, murdered both children, then tried killing herself. She succeeded in two of three tasks.
It goes without saying that I am sickened. I mean, who wouldn’t be sickened? But, I also think, just as 9.11 hit New Yorkers harder than those in different parts of the country, something like this pierces—pierces—through the hearts of parents.
First, there’s the pure rawness. The children were named Lucia and Leo. Their lives have been completed before they ever had a real chance to live. They will never learn to drive a car; never date; never go to Disney World and Great Adventure; never catch a game at Yankee Stadium; travel to Los Angeles or Las Vegas or Brazil; will never marry; have children; have grandchildren. With two stabs, this woman wiped out more than just one life. She changed history. Quite literally. There are two kids out there who, one day, would have married Lucia and Leo. There are two kids out there who, one day, would have been Lucia and Leo’s college roommates; prom dates; best friends. No more. No more.
Like most parents, when I hear something like this, I think of my own children. My daughter, Casey, is 9. My son, Emmett, is 6. When my girl was about a year old, I was holding her in the kitchen, talking to my wife. Suddenly, Casey went limp. Fell back in my arms, like a doll. I looked at her, and she wasn’t responding. Fists clenched, eyes back. She was having a seizure.
We rushed into the den and put her on the floor. She started turning blue. I called 9-1-1, screaming into the phone. The wife, wisely, put Casey on her side. I was going crazy, screaming, “Where the fuck is the ambulance!? Where the fuck is the ambulance!?” I was convinced—100 percent convinced—that I was losing my baby girl (even as I write this, tears congregate in my eyes). It was the worst moment I’ve ever experienced.
Eventually, the paramedics arrived. Casey wasn’t dying … she was experiencing a febrile seizure—scary as all hell, but harmless reaction to a rise in body temperature. She was, ultimately, fine.
I look at my daughter now. She’s tall, like her daddy. She plays piano and takes acting and loves roller coasters. She’s afraid of scary masks and is an enormous fan of ice cream. When she kisses me goodbye on the cheek, I melt. Every December we take a day and go to New York City. Just the two of us—Macy’s to see Santa and the puppet show, a stop at the Nuts for Nuts stand, lunch at Serendipity, the tree outside 30 Rock, the lit-up windows, bag of sweets at Dylan’s Candy Bar, etc … etc.
She is a good girl. A wonderful girl. An absolute blessing. Had I lost her, my life would have been over. Oh, I’d solider on. Smile when people laugh, eat when offered food. But the rest of my days—every single day—would have been haunted by the loss of a child; by the loss of my child. Such is the horrid fate assigned to Marina and Kevin Krim.