Jovan Belcher's mother sues Chiefs for wrongful death

Jamie Squire

Cheryl Shepherd alleges repeated head trauma caused her son traumatic brain injuries, leading to his suicide in 2012.

Jovan Belcher's mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday, according to the Kansas City Star. The lawsuit comes nearly 13 months after the former Kansas City linebacker killed his girlfriend then himself.

The suit filed by Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, alleges Belcher was exposed to "repetitive head trauma" and "suffered multiple concussive and subconcussive blows to the head which caused or contributed to cause a a (sic) constellation of neurologic/brain harms, including post concussion syndrome ... and traumatic brain injuries, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)," according to the Kansas City Star report.

The laswuit also alleges the Chiefs were, or should have been, aware that Belcher showed signs of cognitive and neuropsychiatric impairment. Belcher's body was exhumed earlier this month at the request of his family to test his brain for evidence of CTE. The suit alleges Belcher did not receive adequate medical care, including after a concussion he suffered in 2012.

Former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is accused of engaging in mental abuse. Via the Kansas City Star:

According to the suit, former Chiefs general manger Scott Pioli and other Chiefs officials "engaged in mental abuse to ‘motivate'" Belcher to play through his injuries. The suit alleges that Belcher was told "he was just an accident, and they would get rid of him" - treatment the suit labels "constant bullying pressure and stress" that, coupled with Belcher's concussion issues, "caused or contributed to cause (him) to become insane."

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $15,000 at a jury trial. The Chiefs were sued on four counts, including that they were negligent in maintaining a safe working environment, that they told Belcher his mental health issues were not related to football head trauma, that they knew CTE was a risk but concealed the information from Belcher and that they wrongfully contributed to his death.

More from SB Nation NFL

Could Peyton Manning lose his single-season yardage record?

NFL firing season coverage | Shanahan out in DC | Lions dump Schwartz

AFC playoff schedule and bracket | NFC playoff schedule and bracket

2014 NFL mock draft: Offseason planning begins for 20 teams

Death of a football player: Helmet-to-helmet hit killed Derek Sheely

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.