Former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli talked at length for the first time about the Jovan Belcher tragedy in a Tuesday appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. Below is a transcribed version of the section on Belcher as well as the accompanying video via The Dan Patrick Show.
Dan Patrick: When you're with Kansas City, obviously the terrible news with Jovan Belcher. How do you shake what you witnessed that day in the parking lot?
Scott Pioli: I don't know if you ever shake it. You surely dont forget it.
Patrick: Did you have therapy? Did you have to talk to someone? You witnessed a tragedy.
Pioli: Yeah, it was awful, especially someone that you really care about and someone that you know. Dan, it was so much more complicated than that because it was more than a suicide. There was the act that took place before. It's still one of those things...
Patrick: Were you aware he killed his girlfriend by the time he got to the Chiefs facility?
Pioli: He told me he did, yeah, he told me he did, which was...
Patrick: What do I not know about this though, Scott?
Pioli: A lot. There's a lot I have to sort out and figure out, too. It was, it's one of those things, surreal doesn't even do it justice, the word surreal, to try to characterize it. It was unlike anything I've ever been through.
Patrick: But to see a man kill himself?
Pioli: Yeah. Yeah.
Patrick: Did you think, I mean, do you go "What could I have done? What did we miss here?"
Pioli: Of course, absolutely. If you're human, if you have a heart, a conscious, if you have a thoughtful mind, absolutely. There are a lot of gymnastics your mind goes through and second guessing of a lot of things. That's stuff I'll figure out in time. When you sign an NFL contract to do a job or to do any job, you never think you're going to go through something like that. Tragedy ... here's the thing, the way I've looked at it, Dan, I was not a victim that day. I saw something awful but the reality is there are other victims out there. There's people out there, there's family members, someone lost their daughter, someone lost their son, there are people who lost a family member and unfortunately this is a microcosm of what's really going on in our world today. That's what I've been trying to process. Unfortunately, I witnessed something horrific. The reality is I'm not unique. This is happening all over our world, all over our country. That's the bigger picture you have to start looking at it as you try to get closure to it.
Patrick: You're trying to sort all of this out. He's thanking you guys for giving him this opportunity to play football. But then he leaves you with this as his way of thanking you. The juxtaposition of saying thank you for the opportunity, and then he kills himself.
Patrick: I know it doesn't make sense.
Pioli: It never will.
Patrick: But you have to make sense of something there with that, just to take something away from it?
Pioli: The truth is I haven't made sense of it. I don't know if any one of us that were there will ever make sense of it. Here's the reality, every human being, I don't care who you are, have these deep dark places and you don't know, even those you're most intimate with, there's something you don't know. Clearly there was something with Jovan that none of us knew.
Patrick: Did football play a role?
Pioli: Did football, I'm sorry?
Patrick: In him taking his life?
Pioli: No. I think he had a personal situation. It's one of the things ... Jovan, I got to know him actually when he was a senior at the University of Maine. Football and his mother were the only stable things in his entire life. It was the thing that gave him structure, it gave him worth. Tragic doesn't even begin to ... Take it away from Jovan. There's this poor girl that lost her life. This wasn't just about Jovan. There was domestic abuse involved. This is like I said...
Patrick: But you do background checks on players.
Patrick: And you never quite know. Everybody has skeletons. Right?
Pioli: Speak for yourself (joking)
Patrick: But I'm speaking for you! You're right, I should have been speaking for me. But you do these background checks, you have investigators, private investigators, was something missed?
Pioli: It's the process we're going through right now getting ready for this draft. You interview, you spend time with people, you do all kinds of work. In life some of our closest friends, people that we know well, and intimately, they do things and you just scratch your heads sometimes. I know you're a music guy, right? That's the word on the street.
Pioli: Billy Joel's song The Stranger talks about that very thing. There are places that people have within their minds and souls that you just don't know and you're never going to know. And it's just awful.