Steroids Blamed for Jovan Belcher Murder-Suicide

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Larry Fine, a sports reporter for Reuters, recently acknowledged that the reasons behind the Kansas City Chiefs Jovan Belcher murder-suicide may never be known. But he felt free to speculate about three possible causes. The include anabolic steroids, the jock culture of violence against women and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (a degenerative brain condition caused by repeated concussions).

All three reasons were nothing more than sheer speculation. But none were more speculative than the suggestion that Belcher used anabolic steroids. There has been no evidence to suggest this was the case. And even if a toxicology reports indicates that Belcher did in fact use steroids, any causal connection to the tragedy remains speculative.

Fine decided to interview Don Hooton, the founder of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, to confirm his speculation. The foundation’s namesake committed suicide after the discontinuation of the use of steroids. Hooton blamed steroids for his son’s death.

Fine must have known Hooton would predictably see a role for steroids in this tragedy.

“Every time I hear a story like this, my mind runs immediately to anabolic steroids,” Hooton said. “Not necessarily to the exclusion of anything else, but because anabolic steroids can affect the mind in these crazy ways.

“I hope when they do the autopsy on this young man, that they look for these substances because it’s possible that what we saw was ‘Roid Rage.'”

Fine and Hooton were not the only ones to point the finger at steroids in the Belcher tragedy.

Lauren Spiridigliozzi, a reporter for the gossip website Celeb Dirty Laundry, saw parallels between the Belcher murder-suicide and the Chris Benoit murder-suicide. She described the apparent similarities in her article, “Was Jovan Belcher’s Suicide and Murder of Kasandra Perkins Caused By Brain Damage or Steroids?”

In Benoit’s case, a post-mortem autopsy confirmed advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In addition, toxicology and other evidence pointed to non-medical steroid use by Benoit.

Spiridigliozzi speculated that Belcher may have suffered from CTE given that this has been shown to be a problem for some retired athletes in the National Football Leauge (NFL). And since steroids are known to be used in the NFL, Spridigliozzi speculated that Belcher could have been a steroid user too.

“Jovan, being a football player, probably took several blows to the head during his brief career and very possibly used steroids as do many NFL players,” wrote Spiridigliozzi.

If steroids are found in the toxicology results, the media will likely seize upon this as the single cause of Belcher’s violent and deadly behavior. They will sadly ignore the complexity of human behavior and miss out on the opportunity to learn from and possibly prevent another such tragedy in the future. ultimately linked to steroids.


Fine, L. (December 4, 2012). Kansas City Chiefs murder/suicide key may never be unlocked. Retrieved from–nfl.html

Spiridigliozzi, L. (December 1, 2012). Was Jovan Belcher’s Suicide and Murder of Kasandra Perkins Caused By Brain Damage or Steroids? Retrieved from