KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Sly James stopped to talk to the media at Arrowhead Saturday afternoon and it was apparent that like the rest of the city, his heart was heavy.
About the tragedy:
“I struggle a little bit because obviously Jovan Belcher’s profile elevates the subject, but there are hundreds people who’ve lost their lives. They’re all tragic,” he said. “I just hope people will look at the act and not judge the person. There’s a lot of things that you don’t know, that people don’t know. We’re talking about kids that are 25, 26, 24 years old, playing in circumstances that most of us never dream of and living lives in fish bowls and sometimes that becomes unbearable but beyond all that there are a lot of people that hurting; there’s a young baby without a parent, or parents,” he said.
About the possible reasons for the violence:
“I think all things are factors in what happens in our lives. I’m not saying anything is a given factor here. None of us do,” he said. “The bottom line is that we as a society and we as a city have to recognize when we’re talking about people, when we’re doing things, we’re actually talking about real honest-to-God people. They have lives and feelings and things that they need to do.”
“God bless his soul and this mom and his child, but what kind of burden was he under to do that, and what is it like to be unable to go to dinner without people calling you scum and loser,” he said.
About his conversation with Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli:
“He’s trying to do his job under probably more adverse circumstances than he’s ever seen in his life,” the mayor said. “He’s very emotional about this.”
“You have absolutely no idea of what it’s like to see somebody kill themselves. If you can take your worst nightmare and then put somebody you know and love into that situation and given them a gun and stand three feet away from them and watch them kill themselves, that’s what it’s like. It’s unfathomable. It’s something that you would love to wash away from your mind but you can’t do it. There’s nothing like it,” he said.
About the game tomorrow:
(Chiefs have announced there will be a game Sunday at noon. It will air on FOX 4.)
“I think that they think there should be a game tomorrow. I think that they believe there’s an obligation to the people of the city, the fans of the team, the fans of the other team to proceed and go forward,” he said. “They are approaching this as the professionals that they are, planning to go forward.”
About wearing red tomorrow:
“It’s a simple thing, but it’s a symbolic thing. We find a number of reasons to divide ourselves; and we can get pretty mean spirited. We can talk about 25, 26 30 year old kids playing a game as if they’re trash if they don’t perform up to our standards. Most of us who have never played the game above high school but all of a sudden we can tear ‘em apart if they don’t meet our expectations. That has an impact on people. I don’t care how you slice it or dice it,” he said.
“Sometimes I just think we’re bass-ackwards,” the mayor said.