Jovan Belcher Funeral: NFL Will Pay Bills For Both Families
After Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and murdered himself less than an hour later on Saturday, the NFL has come forward and said that neither family will have to pay the bills associated with the funerals.
"Sources directly involved with the situation tell us ... the Chiefs have made it clear they don't want either family to be stuck with the massive bills stemming from the funerals or memorial services," TMZ reported.
"We're told members of Belcher's family -- which now has custody of the couple's orphaned newborn baby -- graciously accepted the offer ... and the team will cover all of the costs of Belcher's memorial in KC and funeral in NY. It's unclear if Perkins' family has accepted the offer as well."
The NFL also said it will support Belcher's and Perkins' 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, who was left without parents after the horrific tragedy on Saturday. Zoey will receive $108,000 a year for four years, according to NFL.com. When she turns 5, she will get $48,000, then $52,000 a year until she is 18 or 23, depending on whether she goes to college.
Jovan Belcher's funeral took place on Wednesday. Kasandra Perkins was laid to rest on Thursday. The Kansas City Chiefs were originally scheduled to practice at the time Belcher's funeral was scheduled, but they delayed the practice time to attend the service.
The retired Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell said the Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and an uncle of Belcher's spoke during the service.
"It's done and over with and people need to get on with their lives," Bell said. "And the team needed to try to get forward. It's tough on them. When you see somebody and play with them you're buddies, friends."
Veteran offensive lineman Ryan Lilja added: "You got to try to deal with it however you deal with it, and grieve the best way for the individual. And I think this is the best way for us as a team to get closure and move on and focus on football."
The funeral of the 22-year-old mother was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Ridgeview Family Fellowship Church in Blue Ridge, Texas at 1:00 p.m. C.T. Blue Ridge is 50 miles from Dallas.
The last six days have been a nightmare for the family, friends and teammates of Jovan Belcher who still can't understand what made the affable linebacker snap. Though relatives said the relationship between the new parents was strained, happy, smiling Facebook photos told another tale.
Kasandra's cousin, Angela Perkins, told Newsday that after spending time at the couple's home recently she saw there was strain in the relationship. "There was just a lot going on. She was stressed. He was stressed," she said. "It just started to go bad, but they had the child, and they were trying to make it work."
Nevertheless Belcher's mother, Cheryl E. Shepherd, told The New York Times that Kasandra Perkins was "like her own daughter." After Perkins, 22, was shot she was taken to the hospital. But she died shortly afterwards.
It is also believed that Jovan Belcher may have had a relationship on the side with a woman named Brittni Glass. "I was with him that night, that's it," Glass told the Post.
A neighbor corroborated the story. "His Bentley was parked outside," a neighbor said. "He went upstairs. He was drunk. He went up to see the girl."
Jovan Belcher allegedly visited Brittni Glass several times over the past few months, but Brittni Glass declined to comment on their relationship, the Post reported.
Yet friends were still grasping for answers on the couple's Facebook pages this week. After Perkins posted a photo of Zoey at a week old 139 friends clicked like. "Awwwww!," Raven Cruz-Owens wrote. "Shes beautiful! Cant believe this beautiful being swam with us when we swam with the sharks! Beautiful memories! Hope to see u soon! Congrats!"
Al Ritacco, Belcher's former high school coach at West Babylon, doesn't understand it at all. "He was a great kid - this is out of character,'' he told USA Today. "I find this very hard to comprehend. As a teacher, I've seen kids who were troubled. But [not] this guy. He was an outstanding individual, a kid I looked up to.
"If he had a negative side, I never saw it. He was a positive kid - determined to make something [of his life]. ... When he was here [Nov. 20 for homecoming], he [had become] a father and he was beaming about that.''
Now Ritacco - like so many others - is left wondering how such a senseless crime could have occurred.
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