OTC: Chiefs’ Fans Who Cheered Cassel’s Injury Unjustly Vilified By Eric Winston & Media

“It’s one thing to be bad, but it’s quite another to be disliked by fans. It’s one thing to lose games, but it’s quite another to be without apparent hope. It’s one thing to be blown out, but it’s quite another to do it while wasting the primes of careers of players who shouldn’t be this collectively bad.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger penned these words for his Sunday pre-game column. They came to life in the second half when Matt Cassel was knocked out on the Arrowhead turf and his team’s fans cheered his prone position. Read on.

“Chiefs fans’ displeasure with their team’s starting quarterback has simmered nearly since his 2009 arrival in Kansas City. It reached a rolling boil during Sunday’s 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.”
Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star
GH: The Chiefs have just as much to do with Cassel’s injury being cheered as any one factor. The Chiefs have fleeced their fans for luxury boxes and escalating ticket prices and gouged them for parking and beer. When a customer is being abused by its vendor, that customer reacts in one of two ways – he stops being a customer or he becomes a very unhappy and emotional customer. One who at any time might react negatively toward his vendor. Cassel just happens to be the most visible vendor and the most visible vendor target on game days. You want to hear the hometown cheer? Put Scott Pioli’s ass out there on the fifty yard line and let Ray Lewis clothesline his arrogant ass. Mardi Gras will erupt in the stands.

“We are athletes. We are not gladiators. This isn’t the Roman Coliseum. People pay their hard-earned money to come in here. I believe they can boo, they can cheer, they can do whatever they want … we’re lucky to play this game. It’s hard economic times, and they still pay the money to do this.”
Eric Winston, Kansas City Star
GH: In these words Winston is correct – but he does not stop here. He goes on to completely contradict what he states above. Read on.

“But when somebody gets hurt … there are long-lasting ramifications to the game we play … I’ve already come to the understanding I probably won’t live as long because I play this game. And that’s OK. That’s the choice I’ve made. That’s the choice all of us made. But when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don’t care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel, it’s sickening. It’s 100 percent sickening. I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life to play football than at that moment right there.”
Eric Winston, Kansas City Star
GH: Winston held court in the Chiefs’ locker room following the game and he let the Chiefs’ fans have it. I found his rant misplaced. A crowd is going to react in an inhuman and detached manner in almost every instance. They are after all, a crowd. They are not an individual cheering Cassel’s injury but a collective fan base expressing their passion for their team. It is simply what sports crowds do. To expect a crowd to react otherwise is as futile as trying to stop a thunderstorm.

“I get emotional about it, because these guys work their butts off. Matt Cassel hasn’t done anything to you people … hasn’t done anything to the media writers who kill him, hasn’t done anything wrong to the people that come out here and cheer him. If he’s not the best quarterback, he’s not the best quarterback, and that’s OK.”
Eric Winston, Kansas City Star
GH: Easy, Eric. No one in the media is killing Matt Cassel. They are simply doing their job when they critique his work – no different than you and your job as a professional athlete. If he’s not the best quarterback or even a reasonable facsimile of a quarterback – expect the home crowd of a fan base that has watched their team fashion a 1-4 start and not lead a single minute of a single game to react badly. Is it sporting of the Chiefs’ fans to cheer Cassel’s knockout? No. Is it routine and even expected? Hell. Yes.

“Chiefs tackle Eric Winston chose his words carefully before ripping into anyone who had reveled in Cassel’s injury.”
Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star
GH: Carefully? You mean like Pioli’s decision-making process? If Winston was being careful as he spoke, I can’t wait for him to take his mouthpiece out.

“I appreciate Eric Winston’s comments, But its obvious that he has not played in a market like KC with a fan base that cares.”
Marc Boerigter, @mboerigter, Twitter

“But he’s a person. And he got knocked out in a game, and we got 70,000 people cheering … Boo him all you want. Boo me all you want. Throw me under the bus. Tell me I’m doing a bad job, say I’ve got to protect him more … but if you’re one of those people who were out there cheering, or even smiled, when he got knocked out, I just want everyone to know it’s sickening and disgusting.”
Eric Winston, Kansas City Star
GH: Let me get this straight. Two huge men hit Matt Cassel so violently they knock him senseless in front of 70,000 people – and it is the 70,000 people who watched the attack who are sickening and disgusting? Someone remind Winston how he makes his living. Why he lives the life he and his family lead. You are a gladiator, Eric. You are there for our expensive amusement. This is not church. This is not our place of work. This is the NFL where winners are cheered and losers suffer the scorn of their fans. Sometimes that scorn is ugly. It is simply the life you chose. You want nice? You want polite? Go to work in an office for $50K a year. You want to live like a rock star? Prepare to get your ass graded harshly by those your employer fleeces each week.


“You know the old bromide: Buying a ticket gives you the right to yell anything you want. But it shouldn’t. Not when it’s cruel. Not when it’s inhumane.”
Eric Adelson, columnist, YahooSports.com
GH: Cruel and inhumane? Cheering is cruel and inhumane? Get a grip, Eric. What is cruel and inhumane is the way The Clarks have driven this Chiefs’ fan base into a wild-eyed monster, ready to eat its own.

“When a man has an injury that may hurt his long-term quality of life – and his family’s well-being? That’s never, ever justified. It’s vile.”
Eric Adelson, columnist, YahooSports.com
GH: No, Eric. It’s football. It’s why Matt Cassel signed a contract to be paid $66 million. The NFL doesn’t care about Matt Cassel’s and his family’s “well-being.” They care about their sports profit margin. Cassel is merely a widget. That is cruel and inhumane. That is vile. But you, I and the NFL fans except it without as much as a head turn. You are chasing the wrong bad guy, Eric.

“Not cool.”
Haloti Ngata, when asked about Chiefs’ fans cheering Cassel’s injury, YahooSports.com
GH: Sure glad we got the assassin’s take on this crime.

“Let’s all hope Cassel is OK, not just for himself, but for the consciences of all who felt some positive feeling when he was laid out for the world to see. Boo the guy. Fly a banner over the stadium calling for his benching. That’s fine. But if you don’t have a shred of human decency, don’t bother showing up. An empty seat is a far better representative of civic pride.”
Eric Adelson, columnist, YahooSports.com
GH: Be careful there, Eric. Now you are hitting the NFL where it hurts. Show me the NFL owner who advocates fans staying home above fans being rude to their quarterback and I’ll show you a liar.

and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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69 Responses to OTC: Chiefs’ Fans Who Cheered Cassel’s Injury Unjustly Vilified By Eric Winston & Media

  1. Joe Blow says:

    Watching on TV, I didn’t hear any cheering when Cassel was injured. Any cheering that was done was about the fact that he was being removed from the game, which (right or wrong) fans have been clamoring about for *years*. When else are they supposed to voice their preference for a different QB? They were cheering when a new QB came on, which, if that’s what you want (and obviously most Chiefs fans did), is exactly the right time to cheer. So, shut up, Eric Winston. And try to play better.

    • harley says:

      interesting point joe blow…i did notice that ceetain netwroks dont have crowd noise
      during the games. Watch the games and see that some networks have either
      actual crowd cheering and noise or they have nothing. don’t understand but i was
      at the game…there were cheers when cassell went down. I don’t know if
      cbs includes crowd noise during the telecast but someone might want to
      see the differnce in networks and the background crowd noises they have
      under the announcers…AND WHERE IS GREG HIDING…WHERE IS

  2. WaldoTiger says:

    You, Are Correct Sir!

  3. Joe Blow says:

    And, I’m not one to blame refs most of the time, but on both the McCluster offensive pass interference, and especially the Flacco fumble that was returned for a TD, the refs blew it. I don’t understand why so many people thought bringing the regular refs back would be an improvement — I think the Flacco fumble (and subsequent refusal to review it) was worse than the Packers/Seahawks hail mary call..

    • chuck says:

      Good point, I agree.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      The ref called the play dead at about the same time the ball was fumbled. Can’t review a dead ball call.

      The pick/pass interference play was the second time the move was called. Romeo used this illegal pick often during the replacement refs who had too much on their plates to notice.

  4. KSbugeater says:

    I agree with others here, Greg. You are out of line. There is no defense for people cheering a head injury, no matter how hosed they are by the Chiefs organization. Just as you asserted there is no defending JoePa. Those idiots might read your justification of their actions (if they are literate) and get even more license to bloodthirst. Why don’t you encourage folks to yell fire in a crowded theater while you’re at it? I tried to defend some Nebraska fans’ placing a billboard outside Lincoln before we played Colorado in 1990 that read “Sal is Dead. Go Big Red.” in order to taunt Buff fans who possibly excessively worshipped their fallen QB Sal Aunese. I was wrong (dumb college kid). Midwestern, polite KC should know better. Booing Cano for going back on his word? That’s savvy and deserved. Cheering while a player is unconscious is ignorant at the least and inhuman at worst.

    • jubilation.t.cornepone says:

      Well said bugeater – and good on you for acknowledging that the Sal Aunese billboard was sick. Any respect I had for Nebraska died that day. As for yesterday, Greg is straight up wrong. And frankly, if he’s writing about the media he should be getting after Mellinger and Covitz for washing their hands of the whole thing. If either of those two had any sack they would stand behind their constant Cassel bashing even if Cassel’s head would have exploded on the field. Instead, today’s Star was pretty much the equivalent of the kid who shouted “fire” in the theater sitting back and then claiming “It wasn’t me” ah la Bart Simpson.

  5. PrairieVillager says:

    “…and we got 70,000 people cheering..” 70,000?! By the 4th quarter, most of the truly bitter fans have already headed for the parking lot.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    I don’t think there were many (any?) Mizzou fans sad to see Mitch Morse limp off the field either. No one is specifically cheering a player getting injured — they’re cheering that the coaching staff is now forced to try someone else at a position that is holding the team back, since coaches are apparently the most stubborn people in the world..

  7. Joe Blow says:

    Mellinger is the king of trying to write a really harsh column, but instead writing something really wimpy while saying absolutely nothing. Same with Babb. Maybe that’s why they liked each other so much..

  8. Joe Blow says:

    Sorry for the “new” comments — for some reason hitting reply isn’t posting responses under the comment they’re directed to for me..

  9. Goose13 says:

    Listen, should anyone be surprised about the booing? An NFL game, and most pro sporting events, has not been a family outing for years. The drunken, loud mouth “fans” have made the experience, and the view of the city, bad.

  10. Lamar Glass says:

    You’ve gotta hand it to “Don’t line up in the backfield” Winston. No one today is talking about the Chiefs’ unproductive offense, missed blocks, turnovers or penalties. The discussion on the national stage is all about how Kansas City fans are classless and disgusting.

  11. Renton says:

    There were cheers when Cassel was down, but I don’t think many of them were cheering the injury. Especially since it wasn’t clear from the beginning that it was a head injury. And it wasn’t 70,000 fans — and it wasn’t even a large percentage of whatever was left at that time.

    But now, the story line from the national media is that Kansas City fans are such shitheads that we’ll cheer when a player gets a concussion and boo poor Robbie Cano.

  12. The Smartman says:

    Check the tape! I correctly predicted that Princess Matt would get dinged and we’d see Brady. Secondly football is bloodsport for fans. We watch to see people get crushed, bloodied and humiliated. It’s a flaw in our human condition. Many saw the Cassel injury as Divine Intervention, apparently even God gets tired of watching shitty football or maybe he was just trying to save His followers from continued suffering.

  13. BlackJack says:

    Easy there… you are going to shatter the hopes and dreams of all the people on this board who were saying the replacement refs are horrible, the regular refs arebeyond reproach, and all of the ills would be solved by bringing the regular refs back.

  14. Steve says:

    Eric Winston was completely out of line with his comments. He denigrated an entire fan base from a few bad apples that may have been cheering Matt Cassel’s injury. I was actually at the game (section 318) and there was someone cheering that got shouted down by a whole group of people.

    The worst part of his comments are that this is now a permanent record of Chiefs fans now that TMZSPN has picked up the story and is running segment after segment talking about how classless the fans are. This is now how the Kansas City Chiefs fans will be remembered across the country. Years and years of “Arrowhead is a great place because of the Chiefs fans” has been thrown out the window.

    The Chiefs PR staff has failed the fans as well by being completely silent today and not calling a press conference to do some damage control. Romeo Crennel acted in his press conference today like he hadn’t even heard the comments today and he didn’t notice the fans while Cassel was being tended to. This will be a top story all night on the build up to Monday Night Football and the Chiefs organization is still in the stairwell looking for candy wrappers.

  15. Joe Blow says:

    Exactly. The regular refs routinely call plays dead just so they don’t have to overturn it on review. At least the replacement refs would let the play go and then overturn if need be, because they weren’t afraid to actually get the play right. The regular refs just say, “Nope, nope, not gonna review it, play is what it is, nothing more to see, carry on..” Which is what they’ve always done..

  16. chuck says:

    Well, the “Mighty Quinn” played at Notre Dame. Lets hear it for Touchdown Jesus and sing along with,


    “Everybodys on the radio, raking Cassels in their minds,
    Eric Winstons runs his mouth, while Ngata kicks his behind,
    Everybodys in despair, every girl and boy,
    But when quinn the eskimo gets here everybodys gonna jump for joy!!!”

    Come on Clark Hunt! You’re such a C+nt!
    We’ve not seen nothing how’bout a stunt?

    Come on Clark Hunt! You’re such a C+nt!
    Even David Glass can lay down a bunt.

    Come on Clark Hunt! You’re such a C+nt!
    ESPN is gone and we’re left with Alan Funt!

    Come on Clark Hunt! You’re such a C+nt!
    Time to dump your egotistical adjunct!

    (Ok, we are getting into Hey Jude territory here, but you get the idea.)


  17. Mighty Mo says:

    Greg is right. This and bountygate are the same issue. Everyone talking about decency, respect, sportsmanship when the truth is that they really are more like gladiators than athletes. You like gladiator movies?

  18. goonzablazin says:

    The NFL is a sewer. No one should be surprised by anything that happens at an NFL game, least of all the players.

  19. Herb says:

    I had no idea most of you were Nancies.