- (Photograph: Reuters/ Dave Kaup)
The NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Carolina Panthers will go ahead as scheduled on Sunday despite the tragic events of Saturday when Chiefs' player Jovan Belcher allegedly killed his girlfriend before taking his own life in an apparently suicide outside the Chiefs' stadium. The NFL has confirmed that this game is to go ahead as planned, and so the match up will start at 1 p.m. ET as scheduled, although a muted atmosphere is obviously expected. The game can be watched online through free live stream (details below).
The decision to go ahead with the game has immediately been criticized by numerous pundits and professionals.
Michael Silver from Yahoo News has said, "If the NFL wanted to do the right thing for the players, coaches and team employees reeling from this horrible occurrence — not to mention the loved ones of Belcher and, most of all, Kasandra Perkins, the woman he is believed to have murdered — the league should have postponed the game until Monday or canceled it."
It had earlier been reported that Belcher shot his girlfriend dead at a house near the team's Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday morning. Following the killing it is reported that Belcher drove to a part of the Chiefs' main campus before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
In one dramatic report, the Kansas City Star has claimed that members of the team's staff tried to stop Belcher from committing any other acts of violence before the player shot and killed himself.
In the aftermath of the killings, other players arrived at the team's facilities but were sent away, with police telling them one of their teammates had shot himself.
The Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead practice facility has since been evacuated and is currently been placed on lockdown by police officials.
In other reports, Albert Breer of the NFL Network, allegedly has said that the mother of Belcher's girlfriend called police reporting that her daughter had been shot by the NFL player.
It was reported that police rushed to the Kansas City Chiefs' training facility, finding Belcher in the parking lot with a gun pointed at his own head. As the officer got out of his vehicle the gun went off, and Belcher was pronounced dead soon after.
CBS Sports has reported that the Kansas City Chiefs' general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel were among the team employees in the area at the time of the incident.
Chiefs' players had been asked in the aftermath of the incident to gather at one of the team's facilities to be briefed on the incident and informed of the details of what happened, according to Fox Sports.
So the game will go on, and on footballing issues this game could be more about the coaches than the players. Two frustrated owners will be looking on and analyzing how things go closely as they contemplate their next move.
The Chiefs were expected to challenge for the AFC West crown this year but find themselves 1-10, which is far worse than anyone could have predicted prior to the season beginning. The Panthers are not much better off at 3-8, which is good enough to place them rock bottom in the NFC South.
The Panthers did have a promising 2011 season, and that led many to predict they could go on and accomplish more, but things have not worked out that way. Still they are probably the favorites coming into this game, especially having claimed a morale-boosting win against the Eagles on Monday night.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Carolina Panthers will start at 1 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream by clicking here.