We Don’t Talk: Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins

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About Liam Day

Liam Day has been a youth worker, teacher, campaign manager, political pundit, communications director, and professional basketball player. His poems have appeared at Slow Trains Apt, and Wilderness House Literary Review. His op-eds and essays have appeared in Annalemma Stymie, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. He lives in Boston, where he works as a public health professional. He is the Sports Editor at The Good Men Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @LiamDay7.


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
    Dismiss getting his bell rung too many times. Dismiss booze and possibly drugs. Dismiss the possibility of another girl friend. Dismiss the possibility he’s just a violent asshole.
    Nope. All because society demands men be strong and silent. Note to self. Find empirical evidence outside John Wayne movies that society demands men be strong and silent. Delay until reincarnated on account of not enough time left in this round.
    Find evidence that talking about something or other is actually like lancing a boil, using Freud’s steam pressure metaphor. Psychoanalytic theory not as popular as in past decades….
    Find evidence that talking about whatever it was wouldn’t have made him madder. Since nobody knows where his head was in the preceding, say, week.

  2. I think you are right when you say many men lack the vocabulary to express the full range of emotions. Many men and boys have been forced into an emotional straitjacket when they were taught that it is ok to feel but not to express them, accept anger. This leaves men with a lack of emotional expression. When they encounter situations where they feel out of control, powerless, shamed, frightened or sad they have a lack of resources to express these feelings appropriately and so squeeze them out through the channel of anger.

    In my work with my boys, I often work with them on emotional fitness and also explore what they understand a man to be. Inevitably they will often use words like, tough, strong and in control. If boys and men are to evolve emotionally, we have to stop teaching them to avoid their vulnerable emotions and allow them to express them.

  3. Liam Day wonders if the tragedy in Kansas City was a part of society’s expectations that men be strong and silent.

    I wager so.

    Chances are there will be those will try to make the start and finish of this as a case of “men think they can control women” as of that is the problem. It’s not it’s a manifestation of something larger (which James and Richard comment on above). But as long as ever instance of male against female violence is limited to being a part of the Duluth Model or some stat to be stockpiled and pulled out whenever someone dares to show actual concern for men it will be hard to help guys like this out.

    • Chances are there will be those will try to make the start and finish of this as a case of “men think they can control women” as of that is the problem.

      Chances are indeed great, given that the author himself did half of that.

      To site owners: stop fooling around with that copypaste blocker. Everyone knows how to circumvent these.

  4. I don’t know a lot. But what I know is this: When I am angry, like rage-angry, a lot of the difficulty stems from the fact that I am unable to articulate a) why I am and b) what I want – even to myself. (I’m a girl.) Not a huge stretch to imagine that a lot of men feel this way due to, as author says, societal constraints & expectations that males be tough, strong, & … the kicker … silent.
    I don’t see how those three can even conceivably inhabit the same room, by the way.
    Not sustainably.
    For me to be tough & strong *includes* life, in all its gloried complexity – and if you can’t know that, feel it, articulate it to others or at least yourself – well, we see the consequences.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Presuming in absence of evidence can lead to inconvenient positions. For example, the state has been forced to disgorge a pic of George Zimmerman, bloodied and beaten, months after the incident. Some folks are going to have to pretend they had nothing to say, ‘way back. This could be a similar situation.

    In this case, we know nothing. Perkins, despite being dead, might not have been an angel. It’s said that women are more verbally agile than men. I’m sure this is the case until it becomes inconvenient when it’s just a stereotype. But suppose Belcher, talking to a more verbally agile Perkins, got even madder by being outfenced. Sure, he was “talking”, but he was outtalked.
    We know nothing.

  6. [quote]Right down to the very words we use to enforce conformity at recess in middle school—words like gay and fag, the epithet of choice whenever a boy can’t throw a football or hit a baseball or is afraid to hop a fence or skip school or ask a girl out on a date—it is a very limited vocabulary that we’ve inherited.[/quote]

    This is one of the reasons why mandatory P.E. must be reformed if physical fitness is to ever be truly promoted in this country. (I speak not as a sedentary man, but as a physical fitness enthusiast and amateur bodybuilder. I know of what I speak from my own personal experience.)

  7. Liam,

    You are absolutely correct. There is the lost art of conversation in America. People would rather text, email, or use social media rather than have conversation.

    Instead of engaging someone in a conversation, people would rather do online dating.

    I do not know what happened to this young man. But, we cannot forget his wife/girlfriend in all this. She seems to be getting ignored. But, she was murdered and a 3 month old baby left without parents.

    We have allowed technology to take over our lives. Technology is to make our lives better. Not rule our lives.

    Great piece.


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