Chiefs OT Eric Winston had a lot to say following the Chiefs 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and most of it wasn’t about the game, but the fans. Starting quarterback Matt Cassel was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter due to a head injury, and it appears that some fans cheered the news. This set Eric Winston off. Below are excerpts of Winston’s full comments to the media:[quote]But when you cheer, 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 more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there.”[/quote]
It is sickening that some fans cheered when Cassel was injured. There seems to be a lot of confusion, and the cheering is not very loud on the television broadcast. There were a few legitimate things for Chiefs’ fans to cheer about while the injury debacle played out–the play resulted in a first down for Jamaal Charles, and fans gave incoming backup quarterback Brady Quinn a warm welcome.[quote]Hey, if he’s not the best quarterback then he’s not the best quarterback and that’s OK. But he’s a person. And he got knocked out in a game and we have 70,000 people cheering that he got knocked out?”[/quote]
Well, I wish that 70,000 people had been at that game and stayed into the fourth quarter. There were quite a few empty seats, and if you’ve followed the Chiefs at all this year, it’s easy to see why. There were some cheers while Cassel was on the ground, but the loud cheers and applause came when Cassel left the field on his own accord.
While his comments about cheering an injury are valid, I think it’s disgusting for Winston to throw an entire fan base under the bus, especially since this is his first season as a Chief. It is appalling that any fan would ever cheer an injury, but look at the celebratory and taunting way many players react after delivering an especially brutal hit.
Winston’s comments do nothing but bring negative attention to the city and the fans, many of whom are already frustrated by the direction of the franchise. Expressing such vitriol has placed a further wedge between the fans and the team. Without his comments, the issue would never have gotten attention, especially not on a national level. It’s especially callous of Winston to demand that the media spread his finger-wagging and bringing more attention to an already deplorable act.
On the bright side, Winston’s comments have removed a lot of focus from the struggling Chiefs, who are 1-4 on the year. Of course, I doubt many fans will want to buy tickets for the remaining games between their record and Winston’s rant against the fans.
It’s unfortunate that Matt Cassel is injured. I, and I’m sure all Chiefs’ fans, wish him a quick and full recovery. As for Winston, I hope he chooses his words more carefully in the future.