She got back to me back within minutes, asking if I was following the developments in Kansas City (at that point, I was not), adding: "Resources exist to do psyche evals on players and I think it's a cop out to try to say its about concussions."
Within a short time, there was no escaping the shocking news that Jovan Belcher had shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. Soon after, he turned the gun on himself in front of the Chiefs' coach and general manager outside Arrowhead Stadium.
Looking back on Redmond's message, it is clear that her own experiences were already telling her that many -- if not most -- would miss the essential take away from the tragedy. Perhaps there is a place for some discussion on the role of the gun -- which Bob Costas focused on during Sunday night's NBC football telecast, making him an immediate target of gun rights activists. Maybe there is some generalization to make about effects of the NFL's player-on-player carnage -- a serious and devastating story in its own right, but one that might also be used in cases like this one as a cop-out.
First and foremost, this would appear to be a story about a relationship gone bad and heinously escalated to domestic (gun) violence. Male athletes are far from alone in misogynist behavior and there is no recent statistical evidence to suggest that they abuse women at a greater rate than any other men. But the great revenue producing sports do often create a sense (and reality) of entitlement and empowerment, which Redmond -- who charged a football player with raping her at Nebraska as a freshman in 1991 -- has been fighting back against for almost 15 years.
The horror here for her is this: a defenseless young woman was murdered by a man who did not value the life of the mother of his child. And until there is an understanding of how that could be and who, if anyone, might have intervened, any other discussion -- in particular those vacuous cliches about Belcher having been a great teammate who always gave 100 percent -- is just noise. In most cases from people pursuing an agenda, not necessarily the truth.