Under what possible circumstances would Kansas City LB Jovan Belcher’s Saturday murder of his girlfriend and subsequent suicide in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot not be the top story on an Sunday pregame show? Perhaps when the former Tiffany network is beholden to sponsors and corporate partners, as the following recap from Fang’s Bites’ Kenneth Fang :
The NFL Today opened with product placement for Garmin GPS and spent the first five minutes not even acknowledging what happened in Kansas City. Instead, it was a “Garmin Drive for the Playoffs” that did not even reference Belcher and Perkins. At 12:05 p.m., host James Brown finally mentioned the murder/suicide before tossing to Lesley Visser reporting live from Kansas City. She briefly talked with a Chiefs executive on the decision to play today and then threw it back to JB who then had Jason La Canfora, Boomer Esiason and Bill Cowher talk about the story. That led to a rather awkward transition to a remembrance of college basketball coach Rick Majerus who passed away on Saturday. CBS had a graphic for Majerus, but none for Perkins.
CBS then went on with its show which included a segment with Jim Rome and Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge. The segment with Aldridge lasted longer than the one on Belcher/Perkins. It was a strange show for CBS. It was as if producers shoehorned the Belcher story and then when it was referenced, shuffled it out of their thoughts. With a product placement segment at the beginning and another plug for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that airs on CBS later in the week, could not the story have been handled differently? In addition, SportsRantz points out that if CBS were carrying the game and not Fox, would The NFL Today place a higher priority on the story?