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December 3, 2012

The NFL, Domestic Violence and Mourning Mid-Field

I cannot say how paradoxical it is to see two teams, otherwise tasked to beat on each other, gathered in a prayer circle before tens of thousands of fans in the name of domestic violence and violence toward the self. If you’re not aware of the backstory, the caption reads:

Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers players form a prayer circle after the Chiefs’ win in a NFL football game in Kansas City, Missouri December 2, 2012. The previous day, Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher killed himself after fatally shooting his girlfriend in an action witnessed by head coach Romeo Crennel and other Chiefs personnel.

What’s all the more odd, almost stomach turning, is how the letters “KC” inside the Chief’s arrowhead symbol at the center of the field makes the ground looked blood-soaked (which is not far from reality given that Belcher turned a gun on himself in front of team officials at the Chief’s training facility). Perhaps its disrespectful to make too much of the symbolism, but with sports teams playing specifically on cultural icons (like Cowboys and Indians), and with all the long term debilitating injuries meted out and absorbed at places like Arrowhead, the allusion to killing grounds in this violent culture of ours is probably not that far afield.

(photo: Dave Kaup/Reuters caption: Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers players form a prayer circle after the Chiefs’ win in a NFL football game in Kansas City, Missouri December 2, 2012. The previous day, Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher killed himself after fatally shooting his girlfriend in an action witnessed by head coach Romeo Crennel and other Chiefs personnel. .)

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