KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt says that the few Chiefs fans who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel was injured on Sunday are not representative of the team’s fans.
“Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about our fans, and I feel like it’s important to set the record straight,” said Hunt in a statement. “I know our fans. They are passionate, hardworking, loyal, educated football fans, and they are the heart and soul of the Arrowhead experience. They know cheering an injury to anyone in any stadium is unacceptable.”
“I want to make it perfectly clear: A small few who may have cheered when Matt went down do not accurately represent the best fans in the National Football League. Period.”
The statement on Wednesday comes after several days of criticism of Chiefs fans sparked by a post-game rant by Chiefs offensive lineman Eric Winston, in which he claimed that “70,000” people in the stands were cheering that Cassel was knocked out of the game following a hard hit from the Baltimore Ravens’ Haloti Ngata while completing a pass in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs 9-6 loss.
“I get emotional about it because these guys, they work their butts off,” said Winston. “Matt Cassel hasn’t done anything to you people, hasn’t done anything to you people. Hasn’t done anything to the media writers that kill him, hasn’t done anything wrong to the people that come out here and cheer him. 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?”
The comments started a national media firestorm, with many commentators bashing the behavior of Chiefs fans. Winston later backed off his claim that all of the approximately 70,000 fans in attendance were cheering Cassel’s injury.
Earlier on Wednesday, Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel defended the team’s fans, calling them some of the best in the NFL.
“I think the majority of the Chiefs fans are not going to cheer a player getting hurt. I think the majority of Chiefs fans support the Chiefs. They want the Chiefs to win,” Crennel said. “Are they frustrated? Yes, they’re frustrated, just like we’re frustrated.”
The Chiefs, off to a disappointing 1-4 start, will take on the 1-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa. Backup QB Brady Quinn is expected to make his first start for the Chiefs in place of Cassel, who suffered a concussion against the Ravens.