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Home » News and Features » After Further Review » Cassel goes down, Winston sounds off

Cassel goes down, Winston sounds off

By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 08, 2012

Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel has had a rough go of it this season. We’ve talked about it. Head coach Romeo Crennel has talked about it. Fans are certainly aware of it, going so far as to cheer after Cassel took a fourth quarter shot from Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata that left the quarterback lying prostrate on the field. He would eventually stand up and walk off the field of his own volition, but he suffered a head injury and did not return to the game. Backup Brady Quinn took over the offense and completed all three of his pass attempts in his debut as a Chief. Kansas City ultimately lost the game, 9-6. 

Offensive tackle Eric Winston took particular umbrage to the fan’s misplaced enthusiasm, as he explained in a detailed postgame tirade

“People pay their hard-earned money when they come in here and I believe they can boo, they can cheer and they can do whatever they want, I believe that. We are lucky to play this game. People, it's hard to economic times, and they still pay the money to do this. But when somebody gets hurt, there are long lasting ramifications to the game we play, long lasting ramifications to the game we play. I've already kinda come to the understanding that I won't live as long because I play this game and that's OK, that's a choice I've made and a choice all of us have made. But when you cheer, when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don't care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel -- it's sickening. It's 100 percent sickening. I've been in some rough times on some rough teams, I've never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there.” 

Winston has Cassel's back, on and off the field

The fact that Winston felt compelled to make such a statement, one should be inherently obvious, is a disappointment. What sort of low have we reached as fans, when injuries are now cause for celebration? The frustration of Chiefs fans is entirely fair; as Winston points out, they are paying hard-earned money to spend a Sunday afternoon in Arrowhead Stadium. They have paid to be entertained. Another two-interception, two-fumble performance by the Kansas City offense would undoubtedly frustrate the fans. No one likes to see his or her team lose. 

But this is a violent game. The long-term, physical effects of playing football are still not entirely clear, but we’ve all seen players immobile on the field. It’s a frightening visage, to be sure, and never something worth cheering. As fans, we’re invested in the performance of our team. We cheer, we scream, we clap. But we’re not the ones on the field, nor could most of us ever be. There should be an ongoing appreciation and support for these players who dole out the hits and for those who are forced to absorb them.

Even if he’s thrown a few too many interceptions for our liking. 

Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik        

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