Pioli, Crennel among Chiefs personnel who will attend mandatory counseling

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As the Chiefs organization continues to wrestle with the tragic events of Saturday, the personnel who witnessed linebacker Jovan Belcher’s suicide will be required by the league to submit to mandatory counseling.

NFL V.P. of player engagement Troy Vincent told Lindsay Jones of USA Today that G.M. Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel, and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs will receive counseling services.

“We’re always going to say, ‘I’m OK, I’m good.’  That’s us,” Vincent said.  “Especially inside of this space, from a coaching standpoint or a player standpoint, it’s, ‘I’m good.’ No, we’re not good.  Witnessing that kind of event is horrific.  It’s not about closing the door, not about being the gladiator, the tough, immortal football player that we’ve always developed into being.  This is serious.  This is a mental, visual image that we need to talk through, and this is OK.”

Vincent is right.  The fact that Pioli and Crennel are leaders of the organization could mean that they’ll spend too much time worry about others and not enough time worrying about themselves.

As Rodney Harrison explained earlier this week on Pro Football Talk, football players (and, really, men generally) internalize their feelings and emotions in order to appear strong, not weak.  At a certain point, showing weakness is a sign of strength.  Here’s hoping that everyone in the Chiefs organization who needs help will get it, and that the broader lesson for the rest of us will be to not ignore our issues and challenges but deal with them, even if that means admitting that we don’t have all the answers, all the time.

13 responses to “Pioli, Crennel among Chiefs personnel who will attend mandatory counseling

  1. Although KC has had a miserable season I really feel that Pioli and Crennel have shined this week in the way they’ve dealt with this unimaginable tragedy.

    They’ve earned a lot of respect in my book.

  2. It’s called post traumatc stress ( disorder ). Think of all the soldiers coming home. Very serious stuff. Hoping for all involved…

  3. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a bunch of crap that the league is making it mandatory? They’re grown men, let them choose how they want to deal with their grief. Not everyone needs to “talk about it,” and for those who do, they should be allowed to do so with whomever they choose– not some stranger they’re forced to meet with.

  4. Mandatory?

    Nothing against it, but not everybody needs it.

    There are people who have been through / seen far worse and come through just fine, although the memory always lasts.

  5. Mandatory!!

    They must go to MANDATORY mind control sessions or give up their jobs. Everything they say during the sessions will be recorded and kept on file in the league offices; after being read and passed around.

    What ever happened to the home of the brave
    and the land of the free?

    This country is sprinting toward totalitarian communism and future generations will curse this one for allowing it to happen.

  6. Those of you complaining about the “mandatory” nature of the counseling probably have never been through a real trauma, and obviously don’t understand the need for counseling in a situation like this on a personal basis. Furthermore, you missed a very important line in the original post. It is because of their leadership positions and roles that the NFL is wise in requiring this. There is far too much interaction in sports not to make sure that these men have the opportunity to maximize their ability to contribute to the well-being and professional development of those in their charge.

  7. I think mandatory counseling is in order. As a police officer who was recently involved in a shooting, those involved in traumatic situations should have to see a professional. That does not make tham crazy, but you have to give that person a release. We as guys dont like to see health care (be it mental health or doctors) professionals so we need a little prodding. Not a bad thing.

  8. First off, my thoughts go out to those that wittnessed such a horrific event. Events such as these are life changing and dramatic, but its typically for someone (especially the men of football) to try and repress their feelings in an effort to shield oneself from the pain and their true feelings. Counseling is indeed neccesary for all involved and not only those that wittnessed it. The entire team likley needs to talk about their thoughts.

    Secondly, Romeo Crennel is a class act. He may not survive the season as the Chiefs are pretty bad, but he never wavers. Never throws anyone under the bus, bad talks anyone. Just does his job and takes all of the criticism thats aimed at his team. Kudos to you Mr. Crennel.

    IMO, this is an area the NFL for once has it right, and of course theres got to be the few that have issues with it. Really Jr, home of the brave???? Why am I not surprised that the first negative comment came from someone with a tag name of “Rushbacker.” Go figure.

  9. Those who are mocking the mandatory nature of this are proving just how deep set the stigmas against men seeking mental health support truly is

    If you watched a person – a close friend or colleague – take their own life, and it hasn’t affected you, then you need counseling for THAT

    Can some people deal with it on the own? Probably. Is everyone better off talking to a qualified professional about it impacted them?


  10. The NFL making the counseling mandatory means that the men involved do not have to fear repercussion for taking help.

    Have you ever had to go through any kind of counselling?

    It can be downright embarrassing to admit you need help. They’ve been through enough. Why make them face real or perceived judgement from their peers if they ask for help on their own?

    Better to give them the excuse of, “My boss made me” than to risk them passing on an opportunity to get it out, even if it means wasting an hour or two of their time if they don’t.

  11. I agree with the mandatory therapy session for coaches and those whom have witnessed something that is so mind numbing. But, how about those heroes in the military who have seen their buddies blown in half by an IED? Legs and arms gone. Why are they not treated with the same respect as those in the NFL? These are the wonderful men and women who have given of themselves to keep us safe. This is hypocracy on the highest level.

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