After Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was violently slammed to the turf on a nasty hit from the Baltimore Ravens' Haloti Ngata, the last thing he probably thought he would hear was a chorus of excitement from the home fans.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened, as a vocal minority of fans at Arrowhead Stadium decided to cheer while Cassel lay motionless on the ground.
These “fans” were apparently extremely excited at the prospect of their starting QB suffering a serious injury and career backup (and first-round bust) Brady Quinn warming up to take some snaps.
Chiefs tackle Eric Winston, a seven-year veteran, was shaken by Sunday’s events and had this to say after Kansas City suffered a 9-6 loss at the hands of the Ravens (via the Jackson Sun):
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% 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.
Boo him all you want. Boo me all you want. Throw me under the bus. Tell me I'm doing a bad job. Say I gotta protect him more. Do whatever you want. Say whatever you want. But if you are one of those people, one of those people that were out there cheering or even smiled when he got knocked out, I just want to let you know, and I want everybody to know that I think it's sickening and disgusting.
While Cassel might not be the most popular player in Kansas City and has been bearing the brunt of criticism for many of the team's losses, cheering a man for suffering what turned out to be a concussion (per ESPN.com) is taking it too far.
Were fans justified in cheering Cassel's injury?
There is simply no reason for the Chiefs’ home crowd to cheer on any injury to any player in the league, let alone one to their starting QB.
Winston’s words may be harsh, but they ring true and he delivers a message that all NFL fans need to hear. Injuries are a part of the game, but not the part that needs to be celebrated.