Critics say violence isn’t limited to collisions on the gridiron at Arrowhead Stadium

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's known as the loudest stadium in the NFL. In fact, it holds a Guinness World Record. And football fans say the tailgating is second-to-none when it comes to a football Sunday in the NFL.

But increasingly, critics say, Arrowhead Stadium is home to something else: alcohol-fueled fan behavior that sometimes escalates into violence.

"I think there has not been enough attention brought to this problem," said Independence based attorney Ken McClain, who argues as the problem has grown, security has not been added to keep up.

"The reality is the staff has been able to get away with not providing an additional level of security," he continued.

McClain recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a metro man who says, while trying to protect his family from a drunken fan, he was thrown down the stairs of his Arrowhead section then beaten. The lawsuit alleges no security was in the area, and the victim had to find medical help. He suffered permanent damage to his wrists, but McClain says he could have been killed had he hit his head.

Two years ago, another fan was.

Kyle Van Winkle had joined his family at a game seven weeks after his son Will was born. His family admits he'd been drinking, but say he was not the aggressor when attacked by a man in the parking lot after Van Winkle accidentally crawled into the wrong vehicle.

His family says to make matters worse, he was left alone after he was knocked out, and that when help finally arrived, it was too late. He died at a hospital.

"Everything just crumbled around me," remembered Jenni Van Winkle, now a young mom without a husband. "It's unbelievable to think that in a crowd so big, there was no one around to help."

The man accused of attacking Van Winkle is set to stand trial in February for involuntary manslaughter.

Most fans don't directly experience violent behavior. But when comparing law enforcement calls at Arrowhead with two similar sized AFC markets, Arrowhead had more assault and disorderly conduct calls.

Over roughly the same two seasons, records show authorities responded to 25 assault calls at Arrowhead, but only one each at Cincinnati and Indianapolis home stadiums.

Even so, fans FOX 4 spoke to at a recent home game weren't concerned about their safety, or their kids:

"I wouldn't have brought him here if that would have been an issue," said Lindsay Nichols of her 7-year-old son.

In spite of repeated attempts, the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club declined an interview, but did release a statement regarding stadium security:

"The safety of our fans is our top priority, not just on gameday, but at all Arrowhead Events. We`ve always exercised comprehensive security procedures which are consistently reviewed to ensure fan safety. We are in constant communication with law enforcement officials including KCPD, the Jackson County Sherriff`s department, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with the National Football League. We take pride in creating a safe environment for our guests and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure safety in our stadium and parking lots."

Jenni Van Winkle says she's speaking up about her loss to help prevent future football widows. Though she is skeptical.

"It's not a matter of in my mind, if this will happen again. It's a matter of when it will happen again," she said.

Her son Will, just turned 2 years old.



More News