The Kansas City Chiefs broke their losing streak today with a 27-21 defeat of the Carolina Panthers, but the mood was still somber at Arrowhead Stadium, where linebacker Jovan Belcher committed suicide Saturday after murdering his girlfriend.
Belcher, a three-year starter for the chiefs, shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, in front of his own mother, before heading to the team's practice facility to commit suicide as head coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Scott Pioli watched.
Sunday's victory snapped the Chiefs' eight-game losing streak, bringing the team's record up to 2-10, but many at the game, including the players, still seemed in a state of shock over Saturday's deaths, reports Reuters.
In the locker room after the game, Crennel told the team it relied on its faith to get through the difficult day, and quarterback Brady Quinn said the murder-suicide weighed heavily on players' minds.
"This will stick with us the rest of the year," Quinn told FM 101.1 radio.
A moment of silence was held before the game to remember all victims of domestic violence, and fans were subdued on Sunday, despite their reputation for elaborate pre-game tailgating parties.
Many said they pity the couple's three-month-old orphaned daughter.
"That is who you feel for, this 3-month-old child," fan Ira Thomas said before the game. "She has to grow up without her parents and, as she gets older, someone in the family will tell her what happened and that might set her back a few years."
It was left up to the team whether to go ahead with Sunday's game, Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said.
Romeo called the team captains yesterday afternoon ... and they all wanted to play the game. And I asked coach Crennel, 'Do you think the right thing is to go forward?' and he said, 'I do. Under the circumstances, it's going to be tough.'"