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And Another Thing

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Tragedy squared in K.C.

I know the rationale. You hear it every time real life invades the snow globe in which all of us who make our living playing or administrating or covering sports tend to live.

We have to play this game. So-and-so would have wanted it that way.

I don't know if anyone gave us that exact version out in Kansas City yesterday. But any version of it, given the circumstances, is a sellout of simple human decency to corporate and financial imperatives.

Simple human decency says you cancel the Chiefs-Panthers game today, after Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend Saturday, then went to the Chiefs' complex and shot and killed himself. An unfathomable tragedy -- two people are dead, and a baby girl now has no parents -- that even sucked in head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, who were in the parking lot with Belcher when he shot himself.

Can't imagine either of them slept a wink last night. Can't imagine anyone with a working soul who would have.

I also can't imagine why the hell they're even trying to play this game today, except to make sure the almighty NFL schedule doesn't wind up out of round.

Look, it's not like this game has playoff implications. The Chiefs are 1-10. Carolina is 3-8. Both are playing out the string and everyone who's got a working porch light knows it.

So why play this? Why not do the right thing for once -- the decent, human thing -- and forget about the cash register and the prerogatives of the almighty NFL monolith to give everyone a chance to deal with what's happened, to begin to mourn, to simply extend a gesture of respect to everyone involved?

Instead, the show must go on, apparently. Emphasis, more than ever, on "show."

Ben Smith's blog.

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