Almost immediately after all the details were confirmed over Jovan Belcher‘s tragic murder-suicide, word came down from the NFL for the Carolina Panthers to still make their flight to Kansas City on Saturday.
Debate raged on over whether Sunday’s Panthers-Chiefs game should still be played, but the NFL left the decision up to Kansas City players and coaches.
The Chiefs captains voted unanimously to still play the game, but some still questioned whether the NFL should have even left the decision up to the Chiefs. One line of thinking says that the players should have that final decision. They are all adults and can make their own choices, even during a very tough situation. Playing a football game can be a release, while also serving as a distraction. The game likely would not have been canceled, and pushing it back one or two days would have just been delaying the inevitable.
Some are arguing that the NFL decided to leave the choice up to the Chiefs knowing they would choose to play, and that the decision was all about money. Pushing back the game or canceling it altogether would have meant a headache for the league. Playing it was the easiest decision, but some are also viewing it as disrespectful and that a single game meant more to the league than two lives. There was also the fact that the Chiefs, and especially head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli — both of whom witnessed Belcher’s suicide — weren’t thinking clearly.