Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Dec 2012

MMQB: Chiefs, Adderall

In this week's Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King has more details of his conversation with Joe Linta, Jovan Belcher's agent and recaps, as best he can, what happened outside Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday morning. Plus, Adderall and the normal smattering of news and notes from around the league.

Posted by: Tom Gower on 03 Dec 2012

29 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2012, 9:06am by evenchunkiermonkey


by Theo :: Mon, 12/03/2012 - 9:06pm

I dunno.
I don't agree with adding a story about a suicide 'from a source'.
Is it really impossible to let the story from an official source?

Also, I couldn't like what whatshisface did in the halftime of the Cowboys/Eagles game. He made the point "if Belcher didn't have a gun, they would still be alive".
Yeah sure and I even agree, but this is not the moment to make that point. I feel like it's hijacking the moment to beat your own drum - when it's not your drum we should be talking about.

Maybe I'm guilty right now - by making this point.

by TomKelso :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:15pm

It wasn't the right time Sunday night.

It wasn't the right time after the Aurora movie theatre.

It wasn't the right time after Rep. Giffords was shot and her aide killed.

It wasn't the right time after Va. Tech.

It wasn't the right time after Ft. Hood.

It wasn't the right time after the Sikh temple in Milwaukee.

It wasn't the right time the whole murderous summer in Chicago.

It wasn't the right time during the two-year long presidential campaign.

Just when will it be the right time? Don't WE get to decide what we talk about, and when? I've got no problems with what Bob Costas said (really? You don't know the name of NBC's star announcer? I call shenanigans.), and the time to have the discussion is BEFORE the next atrocity, not after it.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:23pm

At the risk wildly diverting from the reason I'm visit the site. The right time is campaign season, or while contacting your local legislators.

But we're all better off learning how to live with firearms. Given that at least one person has made AR-15 lower reciever with a 3D Printer, and using it in a working firearm, there's probably a lot we can learn from Kentucky's approach. (The only time those 6 words have ever appeared in that order.)

by dcaslin :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:14pm

I tend to generally agree with your point about gun control (I'm generally for it, I don't feel strongly enough to even want people to spend political capital on it in lieu of other, IMO more important, issues), and your point about 3d printing is likely to seem prescient in a few years... HOWEVER...

Based on what we know so far, this case is the POSTER CHILD for gun control. This guy was in the NFL, and not a key player, until he totally lost it, he couldn't afford to break any laws. It's quite likely that stronger gun control laws would have saved two lives in here.

I think gun control (whether it's outright banning things, or simply making it a more arduous process to legally possess certain firearms) is really important of the cases where some pretty quickly goes nuts. Really bad people are going to do what they need to do, but when a good person suddenly goes nuts (which happens more often than we'd all like to think), guns make it much easier for people to die.

(Yes, I pre-preemptively acknowledge that there was a chance that this guy could have done most of this with a kitchen knife, but I think it's at least slightly less likely)

by Independent George :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:22pm

What's the prime directive of FO again?

by Dean :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 8:59pm

Yeah, but liberal politics are allowed. Only conservative viewpoints get squashed.

by dcaslin :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:58pm

What viewpoints are being squashed? If you want to disagree, disagree, by all means. If you don't think FO is appropriate to discuss this, ignore me (or ask a mod to delete this line of discussion; that's fine too). If you want to be a jerk about it, please head over to PFT first though.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 7:05pm

I actually deleted a large part of that post where I'm for gun control. But I think we need to be very careful in its application because of the looming futility. And I shouldn't have even written that post and I shouldn't be writing this one. But...

The short version:

I think Americans kill a lot because our mythos is steeped in the appropriateness of it in a wide variety of circumstances, and places a premium on being ready to follow through on anything, killing included. The way firearms elevate that threat being, once the trigger is pulled, the bullet is gone. There's no redos, except for misses.

This guy shot a woman he was intensely emotionally invested in, 9 times, in front of HIS mother, who herself was there to help care for his sleeping daghter in the next room. Once he started into his psychotic episode there was likely nothing that could stop it. He sought out the three people who he valued most in the world, men he trusted, respected, listened to, and they were completely unable alter or delay his chosen course of action. I don't know when exactly he made the decision to follow this path, but it seems highly likely that the time to move him from it was before he started down it.

Costas and Co are infering that the choice and its immutability were determined at the pulling of the trigger, and couldn't have been made without that, for accidents I'll even go along with that. But this is far from accidental.

It seems to me trying to prevent things like this as early as possible with a variety of strategies would be cheaper and more effective. Gun control strategies are a componant of that, but even there we should be wary of our emotionally guided overreactions and focus on strategies which are effective and will continue to be so. A choice to react to fear before wisdom may well prove to be more expensive by any measure including lives.

by Dean :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:04pm

If he hadn't have had a gun, he would have used an axe, a hammer, a kitchen knife, his bare hands, or something. The gun didn't cause that woman to die. In fact, if she'd had one, they both might be alive today. Counting on the police to be the only armed people around able to protect her surely didn't work very well. It worked about as well there as it did for the students at Virginia Tech.

We as a nation saw that banning alcohol was stupidity and came to our senses. We're currently failing at trying to ban drugs, and little by little some are coming to their senses and learing that this simply doesn't work. Yet we then turn around and try to ban guns and somehow expect it to be less absurd?

by dcaslin :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:27pm

I don't think many rational people are arguing for a total ban on guns. The situation that concerns me, and I believe this happens, is where someone who's temporarily nuts happens to have a gun easily available to them. Worse, that gun is a hand gun, worse that gun fires quickly and has a large clip.

Just like studies show that default opting into a 401K makes tons of lazy people do it, I think making dangerous guns a bit harder to obtain would make tons of lazy people skip it. If .1% of those people have a psychotic episode, and 2% of them don't lock their guns up around kids, that extra hoop just saved some lives.

And finally, after reading Needful Things years ago (kid wants to kill himself, has to pull the rifle trigger with his toe in a terrible awkward sequence), I think the ease of a hand-gun for suicide is also a non-trivial factor. It's (in Hollywood's ideal at least) somewhat dignified to blow our brains out with a handgun. Putting a shotgun in your mouth is a lot sadder. That simple fact alone probably would stop a few extra people from killing themselves.

I just wish everyone that asked to get a handgun was told something like "Look, you can get that shotgun over there right now, or you can fill out this 30 page form and wait in line for an hour and get yourself a handgun, your call". I think that little bit of DMV style irritation would make the US a safer place.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 1:21am

There already are waiting periods to buy guns in many states. I'm not an expert, but the last two states I lived in had them and I've been told that's common. No clue when Belcher bought his gun, but his girlfriend reportedly had told her friends she was concerned about there being something off about him for a long time. And an NFL player owning a handgun isn't uncommon. No guarantee waiting periods would have had any impact on him getting a gun.

There are strong argument for and against gun control, but ultimately you get down to how do you prevent tragedies WITHOUT infringing on the rights of people to buy them? It sounds as if Belcher really had never done anything wrong to have stopped him from getting a gun right up until he killed somebody. And this wasn't a case of a theater getting shot up by some lunatic with tons of ammo and high capacity clips where you can make the argument the tragedy could have been lessened or avoided completely without a gun. Belcher could have killed her by stabbing her, hitting her with a bat, or using his bare hands. He shot her nine times...this wasn't an accident or a case where he wanted to take it all back a nanosecond after pulling the trigger.

by evenchunkiermonkey :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 9:06am

Lost in all this gun control talk is the nugget King mentions, that 28 new cases of CTE in football players were registered.
I wont vouch for the accuracy of a Deadspin article, but they're reporting Belcher had the symptoms of a concussion(s) and was having trouble remembering things that had just occurred. I happen to find it believable.
So maybe the issue isn't gun control at all. Maybe the issue stems from the stakes involved in the NFL being so high that players like Belcher are thrown into the meat grinder every week with such little concern for the consequences of repeated brain damage (like memory loss and impaired impulse control).
Perhaps 'thrown into' isn't accurate: Most players walk in willingly each week, for the paycheck, the adrenalin, the glory or love of the game. The troubling part is that friends and family can see the mental fog descending on a player like Belcher, but the team officials seem oblivious to it.
This story ends so much better if Jovian Belcher drives to Arrowhead to thank the GM or coach who wouldn't let him practice or play because of their concern for his long-term well being. Instead there's a murder/suicide, an orphaned child and traumatized families. Swept under the rug is the fact that no one ever wants to say, "Hey, I know you don't want to sit out but its in your best interest" or "Maybe its time to walk away before these concussions change who you are."



by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:47am

The Cecil Shorts factoid is one of the most banal I've ever read. Man goes to college, gets in debt. The debt is then the equivalent of about 10% of his salary, and could be fully paid off in a couple of weeks if he wanted to. I reckon most students would call debt as 10% of your salary a massive win.

by SFC B :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:17am

I also question the bit he's the only football player with student loan debt. Between the rosters and practice squads there are an awful lot of players. I doubt that every single player on the 53-man roster of all 32 teams got to attend college on a full-ride. CS3 might have the most student loan debt, but I doubt it is so unusual as to be unhead-of by his teammates.

by Nevic (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:36am

I think the main point PK was trying to highlight was that CS3 was being responsible with his money and saving for the future/retirement, using some of the money that would have gone to pay off the student loans. I think that financial planning and execution is uncommon among 1st or 2nd year NFL players. Good to see it acknowledged.

by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:08pm

But it's not good financial planning for him to pay it off over time, which is why this bit by PK is, per normal, totally detached from reality. He'd "make" more money by saving on interest if he pays it off asap, probably somewhere around $15K. If he goes by the normal schedule, he probably ends up paying ~$70K in the end.

by GrandVezir :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:38pm

It's been far too long since I cared personally, but isn't student-loan interest tax- deductible?

For someone in the NFL player tax bracket, that could be important.

by Anonymous88 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:41pm

Not at an NFL player's salary. The ability to deduct student loan interest (max of $2,500) is phased out between $60,000 and $75,000 of income for a single filer and $120,000 to $150,000 for a married filer and is performed above the line. Since an NFL player earns at least $390,000, they earn too much.

by jackiel :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:44pm

Shorts is making a mistake by not taking a paycheck or 2 and just paying off the loans. However, I suspect that he can't. He's probably supporting a lot of family members (Tyron Smith, for example) not to mention higher expenses than a regular person at the same income level (Blecher had a 1 year/$2 million contract, which is about $1 million after taxes, this season and drove a Bentley). There was an interesting take on it a few weeks ago on Grantland.com's Trenches podcast. A lot of players can't wait for training camp to start each year because they're broke and need the money.

by Nevic (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:15pm

Not necessarily. NFL players get a HUGE 401k match, so if his options are pay off the student loan debt of max out a 401k, his better option is the 401k.

by jackiel :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:18pm

Good point.

by jackiel :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:18pm

Good point.

by Guido Merkens :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:33pm

Student loans are government-subsidized, and thus have an artificially low interest rate. Assuming he has enough money to pay them off now, he could do better by investing that money with a moderately competent financial planner and using the proceeds to pay the loans off gradually.

by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:12pm

This isn't really true. The low interest rate is capped, and not everyone is given the full amount. Beyond that ceiling, you have to take out expensive private loans with fairly onerous interest rates. I speak as someone paying off student loans.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:53pm

Please explain to me how Peter King is, "per usual," totally detached from reality by reporting what Shorts is doing. Shorts may be handling this well or badly, but how does PK come in for criticism for reporting the facts? Beeredness: Some of you guys are drinking too much of it.

by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:26pm

And some people, not enough. Lighten up, Francis.

by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:35pm

Well, I had a much better response, but the filter blocked it.

Anyway, Peter King is a bully. He steals balls from children and writes 2000 words about it to brag. He takes endorsement deals from products and then spends significant page space to shill them. He critiques players who don't give him good copy (like Cam Newton) and massages those who do (Drew Brees). He bullies hotel employees in Indianapolis, Charlotte- pretty much anywhere he goes. He'll write 5000 words for a Monday morning article, and maybe 1,000 of them require any sort of work. The rest is just a collection of mental garbage swill that most of us forget, but he views as an example of his intelligence. If you read him and think he writes with any modicum of self-awareness, then I just don't think we're on the same wavelength, and that's fine. In my opinion, he visits reality as often as he visits Mars. He didn't get to where he is due to hard work, he got there because he's a sycophant and he's willing to churn out press releases for his sources instead of actual journalism.

I don't give him page views and just read the KSK takedown every week because I don't like bullies like King. It's funny to see their stupidity revealed in full display.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 1:28am

Agreed on most all your points. But when did he take an endorsement deal and shill for the product in his column? That one slipped by me. Curious to know who would look at PK and say "There's the pitchman we need!"

by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 1:05pm

That whole EvoShield thing. If you google Peter King Evoshield, the whole story is right there. They supplied him a van to tour training camps with, and he used his column as an opportunity to write 5 weeks of press releases. This goes without acknowledging the weekly portion of his column where someone gives him something for free because they know they'll get a thanking in MMQB.