NFL tells Panthers to travel to Kansas City as scheduled


Amid the shocking news that Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself on Saturday morning, the NFL is telling the Panthers to go ahead with their plans to travel to Kansas City on Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s 1 p.m. Eastern kickoff against the Chiefs.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the NFL won’t still decide to postpone the game, but it does indicate that the NFL is leaving open the option of having the Chiefs on the field just a day after they learned of the shocking death of a teammate.

Panthers interim G.M. Brandon Beane told the Charlotte Observer that the NFL has advised the team to travel as planned, and the team’s charter plane is scheduled to leave from Charlotte to Kansas City at 1:15 p.m on Saturday.

The NFL is in uncharted territory in this situation, as an active player dying just a day before his team was scheduled to play is unprecedented. The closest thing to a comparable situation happened five years ago in Washington, when Redskins safety Sean Taylor was murdered. But Taylor died on a Tuesday morning before the Redskins played on Sunday. On June 22, 2002, Major League Baseball postponed a Cardinals-Cubs game when Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead in his hotel room just hours before game time.

The league could decide to move the Chiefs game to Monday night or Tuesday night in order to give the Chiefs some time to grieve and collect themselves before playing. But at the moment the indications are that the game will go on as scheduled.

43 responses to “NFL tells Panthers to travel to Kansas City as scheduled

  1. Cancel the game. Move it to a Thurs or Sat double header later this month. Neither team is making the playoffs. I doubt anyone on either team wants to play this game.

  2. Come on Roger, delay the game a day or two and then delay the Panthers next game so they’re not having an even shorter week. Its the right thing to do.

  3. @peopletrains…. Agreed.

    This is uncharted territory. The old adage “the show must go on” will probably apply here though. I imagine that the team will want to play.

  4. this is so sad and my prayers go out to families on both sides and chiefs…I can’t imagine the league being so insensitive to allow this game to go on tomorrow…just a sad tragedy.

  5. Why not leave it up to the Chiefs organization? If they want to play the game s schedules, delay it a day or two, or forfeit it. It’s a meaningless game as far as the standings and playoff implications go.

  6. Neither team is in contention, reschedule the night before the first wild card game. Condolences to chiefs nation.

  7. What a horrible day for Chiefs fans, players, and family. Our thoughts are with you today. I hope the Nfl gives these folks at least a day to gather themselves.

  8. The NFL will make the right decision, I have faith in that. Also, good move in turning off comments on the suicide reports.

  9. I guess the money must be made. This is horrific news… I commend PFT for turning the comments off on the stories of the suicide itself.

  10. no doubt it should be delayed…postponed or whatever…it would be hard to find people who really feel that this game should be played…If the players want to play to honor a fellow players..well then the NFL should listen to them and give them that right.
    Players lives trump playing game…bottom line

  11. Playing the game, regardless of the “He’d want us to keep going” stuff, playing it is disrespectful to the value of a human life.

    Post pone the game. Neither team is a playoff team. Give them each a tie. The NFL can give both teams the $ they would have made, and then show the respect and let the players have their time to grieve.

    No reason to play this game Sunday, Monday, or even Tuesday. Human life FAR out weighs a football game. Let alone a game that has ZERO playoff implications.

  12. neither team is going to the playoffs, there is absolutely no reason to play it, if the nfl is worried about lost ratings, make it up wild card weekend

  13. I think this should be a decision made by the KC players. Some people I feel cope best with things like this by going about their normal routine, returning to normalcy as they say. Look at what Brett Favre did after his father passed away. Some may want to play so they can dedicate the game to him. Either way, it should be their decision. Not Goodell’s.

  14. Please do the right thing, postpone the game.
    My prayers go out to the families affected by this tragedy.

  15. Neither the Chiefs nor the Panthers is a playoff team. So why not postpone their game tomorrow until (say) the Thursday before Wild-Card Weekend?

  16. Good call on disabling comments on the other stories. Right choice considering the severity of the news.

    As far as the game being played, Rog has an opportunity to gain some respect points here. It should be a player decision. I really hope the NFL doesn’t do something really stupid.

  17. Should probably move this game to Tuesday. Heart goes out to the victims, but the players should still have the right to earn their paychecks and play the game. They could even move the game to wild card weekend for additional grieving time, since I don’t believe either team would be in contention for the playoffs anyway.

  18. Vote should be given to the Chiefs players. Completely up to them as to whether they feel that they can deal with a game after the events of today.

  19. At my workplace, people have died AT WORK, on occasions, and it was business as usual.

    Corporations are not people. (I know, my opinion is contrary to a Supreme Court ruling.)

  20. “nyjets1017 says:
    Dec 1, 2012 12:53 PM
    Just give them a game in the tie column and call it a day. Neither team is even close to the playoffs and it won’t hurt them”

    The game has to be played at some point because won/loss records effect draft order. If they postpone (and I think they should) the only way to keep it from adversely affecting teams other than the Chiefs and Panthers would be to schedule it after the end of the regular season as some have suggested.

    Terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the families, especially the girl’s mother and 3 month old child.

  21. Unfortunately this is something that cannot be decided by the players there would be too many differing opinions. It is circumstances like this where leaders step up. Cancel the game and play it on a Thursday night in the future. The game has to be played in fairness to all the other teams. Life goes on but that does not mean you cannot step aside and be respectful and this is one of those times.

  22. I must say, classy move by PFT to turn the comments off for most of the Belcher related articles.

    Sad situation and I feel bad for all involved. Given what I read in the article after this…just postpone this game and have them make it up Monday night. Give them a day at least!

  23. Different people grieve in different ways. I think the NFL will get the input of both teams, especially the Chiefs, before making a decision.

  24. thraiderskin says:
    Dec 1, 2012 12:44 PM
    I guess the money must be made. This is horrific news… I commend PFT for turning the comments off on the stories of the suicide itself.

    In this world of media spin, I also commend PFT for turning off the comments.

  25. @kd75

    Postponing the game might be the right thing to do, but you can’t move it to a Thursday or Saturday…That would require both teams to play another game either the next day or 2 days later. IF they were to postpone the game, it would have to be later this week, or wildcard weekend.

  26. Btw- the decision to play should be on KC, no one else. I hope everyone can respect that decision, no matter what it is.

  27. To those saying the teams are “not in contention”.

    That should make ABSOLUTELY no difference in
    light of today’s terrible events.

    The Kansas City organization, and for that matter, each individual KC player should decide for themselves what they can or cannot do.

  28. Sad,sad,sad. As a redskins fan that just mourned the 5 year anniversary of the Sean Taylor tragedy my heart goes out to all those affected by these trying and tragic events. I am at a loss. Sad

  29. If it was at all possible, I would adopt this little girl in a second. I have two young kids & a loving wife & can’t bear to think this little one will be in foster care or something.

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