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

Charles JohnsonAug 31 08:12p

The Cleveland Browns have placed WR Charles X. Johnson, OT Martin Wallace and OG Karim Barton on no-recall waivers.

Daryl RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

The New York Jets signed free-agents DT Tevita Finau, DL Kerry Hyder, SS Rontez Miles, TE Chris Pantale, OT Brent Qvale, RB Daryl Richardson and QB Matt Simms to [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 31 07:02p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith has agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $68 million with $45 million guaranteed.

Mike KafkaAug 31 05:02p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added TE Cameron Brate, RB Jeff Demps, QB Mike Kafka, LB Brandon Magee, DT Matthew Masifilo and WR Solomon Patton to their practice squad.

Michael CoxAug 31 04:42p

The New York Giants have signed RB Michael Cox, CB Bennett Jackson, CB Chandler Fenner, LB Dan Fox, DE Jordan Stanton, WR Julian Talley and OT Nick Becton to their practice squad.

Rex GrossmanAug 31 04:23p

The Cleveland Browns have released QB Rex Grossman, according to a source.

Michael EgnewAug 31 04:12p

The Detroit Lions have signed TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn to their practice squad.

Benson MayowaAug 31 04:12p

The Oakland Raiders have claimed DE Benson Mayowa off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.

Ryan JensenAug 31 03:42p

The Baltimore Ravens will sign QB Keith Wenning, CB Tramain Jacobs, TE Phillip Supernaw, LB John Simon, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, DT AJ Pataialii and OG Ryan Jensen to their [ More ]

A.Q. ShipleyAug 31 03:32p

The Indianapolis Colts have claimed OG A.Q. Shipley off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.

Jeff TuelAug 31 03:22p

The Buffalo Bills have signed S Deon Broomfield, DE Bryan Johnson, S Kenny Ladler, QB Jeff Tuel, LB Jimmy Gaines, WR Caleb Holley and DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun to their practice squad.

Kapri BibbsAug 31 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have signed LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, FS John Boyett, QB Zac Dysert, WR Bennie Fowler, OT Vinston Painter, WR Nathan Palmer, C Matt Paradis [ More ]

Lawrence OkoyeAug 31 03:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have added DL Lawrence Okoye and LB Shayne Skov to their practice squad.

Travian RobertsonAug 31 03:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have signed CB Ricardo Allen, FS Sean Baker, OG Harland Gunn, OL Terren Jones, WR Bernard Reedy, DL Travian Robertson, LB Jacques Smith and RB Jerome Smith to the practice squad.

Myles WhiteAug 31 02:52p

The Green Bay Packers have signed S Chris Banjo, WR Myles White, CB Jumal Rolle, TE Justin Perillo and OL Jeremy Vujnovich to their practice squad.

Tim DobbinsAug 31 02:43p

The Atlanta Falcons have claimed LB Nathan Stupar off waivers from the Jacksonivlle Jaguars and placed him on their 53-man roster, according to a league source. In a corresponding [ More ]

Ryan MallettAug 31 02:12p

The Houston Texans have acquired QB Ryan Mallett from the New England Patriots, in exchange for a sixth-round pick, according to multiple sources.

Ryan SeymourAug 31 01:02p

The Cleveland Browns claimed free-agent OG Ryan Seymour (49ers) off waivers Sunday, Aug. 31.

Michael SamAug 31 12:12p

Free-agent DE Michael Sam (Rams) reportedly cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team.

Josh KadduAug 31 03:22a

To get its roster down to 53 players on Saturday, Aug. 30, the Philadelphia Eagles released OT Kevin Graf, FS Keelan Johnson, LB Josh Kaddu, DT Wade Keliikipi and WR Will Murphy.

Wes WelkerAug 31 12:12a

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) will increase his activity level when the team returns to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Khaled HolmesAug 30 11:52p

Indianapolis Colts C Khaled Holmes (ankle) is one of five offensive linemen on the team that is currently dealing with an injury, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com believes the [ More ]

Alfonso SmithAug 30 10:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Alfonso Smith was released Saturday, Aug. 30.

Tyler BrayAug 30 09:52p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (undisclosed) and WR Kyle Williams (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamarca SanfordAug 30 09:52p

Minnesota Vikings OT Antonio Richardson (undisclosed) and S Jamarca Sanford (undisclosed) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

A.J. McCarronAug 30 09:42p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder) was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamar ChaneyAug 30 09:32p

Denver Broncos LB Jamar Chaney (undisclosed) was released from Denver's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownAug 30 09:22p

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on no-recall waivers with a waived/injured designation Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve BeauharnaisAug 30 09:02p

New England Patriots LB Steve Beauharnais (undisclosed) was placed on no-recall waivers after reaching an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Andrew TillerAug 30 08:52p

Green Bay Packers OG Andrew Tiller (calf) and LB Joseph Thomas (knee) were placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with injury settlements Saturday, Aug. 30.

Rajion NealAug 30 08:42p

Green Bay Packers RB Rajion Neal (knee) was placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Shaun ChapasAug 30 07:52p

Baltimore Ravens RB Shaun Chapas (undisclosed) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group