2014 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

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

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