2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Fans in Kansas City cast in disparaging light

    2012-10-09 17:37

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - There was a time when sports fans in Kansas City were considered among the best in sports, when Kauffman Stadium was the place to be during the sweltering summer months and tailgating at Arrowhead Stadium a rite of crisp autumn days.

Lately, the perception of Royals and Chiefs fans has taken a hit.

The latest and most volatile flashpoint occurred Sunday, when burly offensive tackle Eric Winston laid into the small percentage of Chiefs fans who cheered when embattled quarterback Matt Cassel sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter of a 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

During a post-game diatribe that quickly went viral, Winston called the cheering ``sickening'' and said he'd never been more embarrassed to play pro football. Winston has since clarified his statement to say not all Chiefs fans were cheering the injury, but he's otherwise stood by his comments.

Words that have been dissected by people all over the country.

Former Chiefs quarterback Ron Jaworski, now an ESPN analyst, asked ``Where's the civility?'' ``Good Morning America'' and ``Inside Edition'' hosts chimed in, Donny Deutsch on the ``Today'' show bemoaned a ``thug culture'' in society and Star Jones opined, ``We cheer bad behavior now.''

Not exactly what people have come to expect of the heartland.

Right or wrong, Kansas City's reputation for fans who are devoted to their downtrodden franchises has been replaced with one of callousness - in some quarters, at least - no better than those Cleveland Browns fans who cheered when QB Tim Couch got hurt in 2002, or those Oakland Raiders fans who got into fistfights in the stands during a game against San Diego in 1999, or those Philadelphia Eagles fans who booed Santa Claus way back in 1968.

``I think it's a misperception, or a bad perception,'' said Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City. ``That's not Kansas City fans. They're loyal, they're dedicated, they're hard-working people. ... That's just not how we do it here in Kansas City.''

Indeed, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index last year listed the city among the ``happiest'' metropolitan areas in the country. Its downhome charm and Midwestern sensibility are big reasons why people continue to flock to what's been called the Paris of the Plains.

Winston said Monday he didn't think his comments would gain such traction, but they've become the impetus for a discussion of what's considered uncouth behavior in ballparks and stadiums.

The line of demarcation is blurry at best.

Royals fans earlier this summer mercilessly booed the Yankees' Robinson Cano when, as captain of the American League for the Home Run Derby, he went back on his word to choose a Royals player to participate. Cano was clearly shaken by the non-stop booing, and the reigning champion failed to hit a single home run as he was eliminated from the competition.

Folks across the country eviscerated Royals fans for what they deemed boorish behavior, while those in Kansas City argue they were merely showing their passion for their own guy.

Just last week, they point out, they gave the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera a standing ovation for becoming the first player in 45 years to achieve the Triple Crown.

The angst toward their own teams has been simmering for years.

The Royals were once a model small-market club, regularly contending for championships. But following the death of beloved owner Ewing M. Kauffman in 1993, and the purchase of the franchise by David Glass, a period of mediocrity - or worse - set in that continues to this day.

The Royals haven't been back to the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, the longest drought in one of America's four major professional sports.

The Chiefs once sold out Arrowhead Stadium every game, and owner Lamar Hunt's folksy charm endeared him to fans. But even before his death in 2006, the franchise had fallen into hard times, and it's continued under the leadership of his son, Clark Hunt, and general manager Scott Pioli.

The Chiefs are currently 1-4, and they haven't won a playoff game since 1993, a longer drought than every NFL team but Cincinnati and Detroit.

``This town just wants a winner. We just want to be relevant,'' said Eric Crandall, a fan from Independence, Mo., who's been attending Chiefs games for more than two decades. ``The coasts refer to us as 'flyover country.' This being the town of Truman, we want the buck to stop here.''

Dr. Don Forsyth, an expert in group behavior, leadership and moral judgment in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at Richmond University, said he's not surprised by the fan backlash.

``There's a breaking point. That's the key,'' Forsyth said. ``Fans think they're part of the team, and that's why they take wins and losses so seriously. Then when they see the administration or the leaders as the out-group, they'll engage in some pretty negative behaviors.''

There are similarities in the two organizations besides won-loss records.

Both have owners who rarely speak publicly, giving them a perceived aloofness. Both franchises have been accused of being miserly, and both have made embarrassing public gaffs over the years.

In response to one angry fan, an anonymous Chiefs employee tweeted on the team's official account a few weeks ago, ``Would help if you had your facts straight. Your choice to be a fan. cc get a clue.'' The tweet was taken down and an apology issued by the Chiefs moments later.

``You would think a team doing this poorly would try and generate some sort of goodwill with the fans,'' Crandall said.

The anger felt by fans was on display Sunday long before Cassel got hurt.

On one of the access roads leading into the stadium, tailgaters hung a bed sheet carrying a painted message calling the Chiefs an ``embarrassment.'' Fans cobbled together enough money to hire an airplane to tow a banner over the stadium asking for Cassel to be benched and Pioli to be fired.

Cassel has been the source of frustration for years. He was booed lustily during a celebrity softball game this summer, and fans have been calling for his job since the start of the season.

That's part of the reason some cheered when he was hurt.

In their eyes, it was the only way the Chiefs would give backup Brady Quinn a chance.

``You never, ever, as a true fan want to see a player get injured,'' said Ty Rowton, also known as Chiefs super-fan X-Factor, who attended his 234th straight game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

``I didn't hear any fans cheering that Cassel was hurt,'' Rowton said. ``When he got up and started walking from the field, the fans gave a very loud cheer, thanking him for sacrificing himself.

``There was an even bigger cheer when it was announced that Brady Quinn was going in.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Terrance WestAug 4 10:52a

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West appears to be on thin ice because of maturity issues, and his conditioning is a question, according to ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi.

Doug MartinAug 3 09:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin was confirmed as the team's lead back Monday, Aug. 3, by head coach Lovie Smith. 'We talked about being able to establish the [ More ]

L. WashingtonAug 3 07:22p

Free-agent WR L'Damian Washington signed with the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Aug. 3.

Senquez GolsonAug 3 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Senquez Golson (shoulder) told ESPN Monday, Aug. 3, he might need surgery on an injured shoulder, and he will find out in the next few days. [ More ]

Ace SandersAug 3 07:02p

Free-agent WR Ace Sanders (Jaguars) was suspended 10 games by the NFL Monday, Aug. 3, for a second violation of the league's drug policy.

Stephen HillAug 3 05:52p

Free-agent WR Stephen Hill (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Monday, Aug. 3, after being waived/injured Sunday, Aug. 2.

Michael EgnewAug 3 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Michael Egnew was released Monday, Aug. 3.

Kevin ConeAug 3 05:42p

Cleveland Browns WR Kevin Cone was waived Monday, Aug. 3.

Timothy FlandersAug 3 05:22p

Free-agent RB Timothy Flanders (Saints) signed with the Cleveland Browns Monday, Aug. 3.

Jalen ParmeleAug 3 04:52p

Free-agent RB Jalen Parmele (Cardinals) was signed by the Cleveland Browns Monday, Aug. 3.

Kyle WilliamsAug 3 04:42p

Denver Broncos WR Kyle Williams (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 3. WR Corbin Louks was subsequently signed.

Matt ElamAug 3 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Baltimore Ravens FS Matt Elam (biceps) will have surgery on his torn biceps soon and will officially be out for the season.

Michael JohnsonAug 3 02:32p

Updating a previous report, Cincinnati Bengals DE Michael Johnson (knee) will be out four weeks with a grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain.

Matt ElamAug 3 11:12a

Baltimore Ravens FS Matt Elam (arm) will likely miss the entire 2015 season with a torn biceps muscle suffered during a full-contact practice Sunday, Aug. 2.

Stephen HillAug 2 08:02p

The Carolina Panthers waived WR Stephen Hill (knee) after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament Sunday, Aug. 2.

Terrelle PryorAug 2 07:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Terrelle Pryor took reps with the first-team offense during training camp Sunday, Aug. 2.

Martavis BryantAug 2 04:22p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (elbow) will undergo a procedure for an elbow infection that will cause him to miss the Hall of Fame Game Sunday, Aug. 9, against [ More ]

Michael EgnewAug 2 03:02p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released TE Michael Egnew.

Tony McDanielAug 2 12:12p

The Seattle Seahawks released DT Tony McDaniel Sunday, Aug. 2. McDaniel should quickly find a new home.

Stephen HillAug 2 12:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Stephen Hill (knee) has an ACL injury, according to assistant head coach Steve Wilks Sunday, Aug. 2.

Sam BradfordAug 2 11:52a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) has been cleared for 11-on-11 drills Sunday, Aug. 2, and head coach Chip Kelly told reporters the quarterback doesn't have any restrictions.

Stephen HillAug 2 10:12a

The Carolina Panthers signed free-agent WR Paul Browning Sunday, Aug. 2. Browning is expected to take WR Stephen Hill's roster spot.

Brandon BoykinAug 1 08:12p

The Pittsburgh Steelers acquired CB Brandon Boykin from the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, Aug. 1, in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Eagles could [ More ]

Kyle WilliamsAug 1 02:22p

Denver Broncos WR Kyle Williams (Achilles') suffered at least a partially torn Achilles' tendon in practice Saturday, Aug. 1, according to a source. He may be out for the season.

Melvin GordonAug 1 02:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has struggled with pass protection through the first three days of training camp.

Devin SmithJul 31 09:32p

New York Jets WR Devin Smith (ribs) will miss a majority of training camp after suffering broken ribs Friday, July 31, according to the team. He will be held [ More ]

Bashaud BreelandJul 31 07:42p

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland (knee) is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of a knee injury he suffered during practice Friday, July 31.

Bashaud BreelandJul 31 07:22p

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Breeland received a citation for marijuana possession last year.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 31 06:22p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) is not allowed to use his injured hand while it is healing from the fireworks accident he had earlier this month. Pierre-Paul [ More ]

Orson CharlesJul 31 06:02p

New Orleans Saints TE Orson Charles has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Marcus MariotaJul 31 03:52p

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota went 13-for-18 with zero interceptions during team drills at practice Friday, July 31. He was able to use a hard count to make the [ More ]

Jameis WinstonJul 31 12:52p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston was officially named the starting quarterback Friday, July 31, by Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group