This Is A Reality Check For Eric Winston


Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Eric Winston‘s rant against his hometown fans was the biggest story coming out of Week 5.  The story was the main focus of our most recent episode of the Ride The Pine video show but we wanted to dive a little deeper into this controversy so lets set the stage and explain what has been happening and what actually happened in KC.

Kansas City Chiefs fans have not been happy with the performance of quarterback Matt Cassel.  Since a Pro Bowl campaign in 2010, Cassel has throw 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over the past two years.  In fact, Chiefs fans have been so disgruntled that they paid $725 to fly a banner over Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday that read: “We Deserve Better! Fire Pioli – Bench Cassel.”

“We Deserve Better! Fire Pioli – Bench Cassel.”

To the 4th quarter of the Chiefs’ Week 5 game against the Baltimore Ravens. The hit in the video below knocked Cassel out of the game but he did walk into the locker room under his own power.

In a post game interview, offensive lineman Eric Winston was “sickened and disgusted” by the way Chiefs fans cheered when Cassel was injured.

Alright, so I did not watch this game live nor was I present in Arrowhead to hear the crowd first hand but at what point in the clips of the injury do you actually hear the fans cheering?  I don’t hear it.  If you do, there could’ve been three reasons why the fans were cheering.

  1. The play resulted in a First Down
  2. They saw Brady Quinn warming up
  3. Matt Cassel was injured

Why isn’t Winston upset with the guy running the PA system because he played music when Cassel was laying down on the ground?

I’m willing to give Winston the benefit of the doubt and lets go with the premise that Chiefs fans were cheering for Matt Cassel’s injury.  What is so wrong with that?  Now before you yell out “because he got hurt,” I want you to take a second and think if you’ve ever cheered when someone on your favorite football team made a big-time hit on an opposing player.  If you have, you can’t be upset with Chiefs fans.

Every football fan experiences that moment after a big hit when they hold their breath and wait for the player [on your team or the opposition] to move, just to make sure that player is alive and not paralyzed.  As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I was upset with the way Eagles’ fans cheered when Michael Irvin was carted off the field and it was still unclear how severely he was injured.  That was not right.  Think about one of the biggest moment in New York Giants football history, when Leonard Marshall knocked out Joe Montana in the NFC Championship.  Are the Giants fans that cheered that play “sickening?”

Reports are that Cassel suffered a concussion.  I know concussions are a big deal, and I’m not downplaying their long-term effects, but this is not the 1980s.  You can’t just walk back into a game without being fully cleared.  Why can’t they cheer?  Just stop and think about it.  The fans don’t like Cassel, in real-time the hit did not look that punishing, they see him come out of the game, he is able to walk on his own power so the assumption for fans in the stands would be he can’t be THAT injured.  Why can’t they cheer?

Let’s be real for a second, this is football.  A violent game they choose to play and fans choose to watch.  As a fan, what is proper etiquette?  Realistically, a football player can be hurt on every play.  Should stadiums sit in silence as they wait to make sure every player on the field is not injured?  Should football players avoid contact?  Should they pretend to be mimes in a box?

Ok, I can’t watch this Winston video anymore because his cracking bottom lip is going to make me throw up.

Alex Balcerski is the owner of and a former radio talk show host for CBS Radio. His work has been featured on, Fox Sports, MSN, and the Los Angeles Times.