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'Normal couple stuff' before Chiefs murder-suicide

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'Normal couple stuff' before Chiefs murder-suicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) As investigators search for a motive to help explain why Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself, a discordant picture of the couple began to emerge.

Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had lived apart briefly earlier in the year but had gotten back together by Thanksgiving, according to a friend of Perkins.

Brianne York, 21, said Sunday the couple, who had a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, argued about ``normal couple stuff'' but that her friend was ``really happy about being a mom.''

When she learned Saturday that Belcher had fatally shot Perkins at the couples' home, York said, she thought someone must have been mistaken.

Afterward, Belcher drove about five miles to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they'd done for him. Belcher then fatally shot himself in the practice facility's parking lot, police said.

Sunday found Crennel on the sidelines, bravely holding together a team in turmoil. The Chiefs rallied to a 27-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers, breaking an eight-game losing streak.

``It was tough,'' said quarterback Brady Quinn. ``It was an eerie feeling after a win, because you don't think you can really win in this situation.''

York, who met Perkins while taking classes at the Blue River campus of Metropolitan Community College, said the women bonded during their pregnancies. York has a baby boy who was born months before Perkins gave birth to Zoey.

``It doesn't seem that that would be the end of their story,'' York said. ``It just seems like if things didn't work out, they would have gone their separate ways. I would never have thought that this would be how it ended.''

York said that sometime after Halloween Perkins had gone to visit her family in Texas. Perkins also briefly stayed with her cousin, who is married to Chiefs player Jamaal Charles. Belcher and Perkins met through Charles, York said.

A message left for Charles and his wife through an assistant was not immediately returned.

York said the root of the argument was that Belcher, ``sometimes he would just be down in his man cave or whatever,'' and Perkins wanted to spend more time together as a family.

``They ended up wanting to try to work it out,'' York said, ``and the next time I went over and visited she told me everything was good and things were better, so I thought everything was fine.''

Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp reiterated Sunday that the couple had argued recently but he could provide no additional details.

At the couple's former home, people could be seen coming and going Sunday. ``Can you all respect grieving?'' said a man who answered the door at the couple's home. A short time later, at the same time the Chiefs were playing, two men loaded bags into a car, and two women drove away.

Attempts to reach various members of Perkins' family in Austin, Texas, were unsuccessful.

Neighbors in the newly built Kansas City subdivision where the couple had lived since April were stunned by Saturday's violent events.

Kristen VanMeter, 31, lives near the couple and said also she had taken community-college courses with Perkins. VanMeter said the couple threw ``a lot of parties'' but said she heard nothing unusual the morning of the killing.

``It's a surprise,'' she said. ``There had to of been something that triggered it.''

Belcher's mother, who was staying with the couple, called 911 after her son shot Perkins. Snapp said 911 tapes are not public records in Missouri.

Shawn Martin, vice president of the neighborhood homeowners association, said she wasn't aware of any problems that preceded the shooting.

She described the parties at the home Belcher and Perkins shared as ``nothing more than any other young couple'' would have.

After having the baby, Perkins was taking the fall semester off school. York said Perkins planned to return in January and wanted to become a teacher.

Police said Belcher's mother was living with the couple, but York said she just made frequent visits, sometimes lasting a couple weeks at a time. She doesn't know who will care for the baby now.

``They just seemed really happy around each other, and I just don't understand where things went wrong,'' York said.

York said the only other stress Perkins mentioned was whether Belcher would stay with the Chiefs.

``She was a really good person to be around and a lot of fun,'' York said. ``She was somebody you could call when you were down and she would talk you through it. She would lift you back up and make you feel happy again if you were sad or upset.''

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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