By Bucky Gleason
News Sports Columnist
Three things that never cease to amaze me: hockey parents, Stonehenge and the behavior of fans at sporting events. For the latest example, we take you to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, once known as the loudest venue in the NFL but never confused with the Colosseum in Rome.
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel woke up in a fog Sunday after getting knocked unconscious against the Ravens. He must have had trouble connecting the wires because A) his brain was scrambled and B) Chiefs fans were cheering. Cassel knew there was little chance they were cheering for him.
Cassel was having a miserable season with five touchdowns and nine interceptions while leading the Chiefs to a 1-3 record. His tough afternoon included a measly 92 yards passing and two INTs before the lights went out against the Ravens. It wasn’t long afterward when it became clear fans were cheering the fact he was injured.
Eric Winston, take it away.
“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," the Chiefs’ tackle told reporters after the game. “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."
Chiefs’ fans should be more embarrassed then anyone.
The Bill of Rights provides us free speech. The price of a ticket allows admission into a sporting event. The combination has come at the expense of human decency. A growing number of fans in all sports believe paying for a ticket equates to a license to behave as they please and ignore acceptable rules of engagement.
Add boozing to losing in any sport, multiply that by the number of people with priorities out of whack, and you get an assembly of knuckleheads. Initially, the fans in Kansas City didn’t know if Cassel sprained his ankle, bruised his shoulder or was dead. It makes cheering the injury even worse.
If you’re not happy with the quarterback, let him know. Boo him until the cows come home. Tell him he’s the worst passer in the history of the NFL. Send him an email. That comes with being a professional athlete.
Cheering an injury, no matter which jersey he’s wearing, crosses the line and is inexcusable. The last time I checked, a conscience didn’t cost a dime.
“”We are athletes, OK? We’re athletes," Winston said. “We are not gladiators. This is not the Roman Colosseum. 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. But when somebody gets hurt, there are long lasting ramifications to the game we play."
Oriole for life
As a lifelong Orioles fan, Cal Ripken Jr. forever has a place on my list of all-time favorite athletes. The Streak speaks for itself. He was a terrific player, ambassador and first-ballot Hall of Famer. It doesn’t make him a good analyst.
Ripken shouldn’t be working the Orioles-Yanks series in the first place given his strong ties to the organization since his boyhood. It was obvious Monday after Eduardo Nunez doubled for the Yankees in the seventh on a blooper. He would have had a single if not for Chris Davis’ poor decision to dive for the ball.
Rather than criticize Davis, Ripken praised the right fielder for “a great effort." The O’s had a 3-1 lead at the time. Davis should have kept the ball in front of him but dived a few feet short of where the ball landed. By the time he gained his feet, Nunez was standing on second. Nunez ended up scoring.
Two sides to story
Former NFL running back Larry Johnson was arrested last week after a domestic incident with ex-girlfriend Melissa Emerson and an ensuing confrontation with a security guard. The incident happened at the Bellagio in Las Vegas after a chance encounter.
Emerson, who agreed to meet Johnson in his room, told authorities that a conversation about his daughter escalated into an argument and ended with him beating her and throwing around her hotel room. She also said Johnson started choking her.
“If you’re going to kill me, squeeze harder and just do it,” she said to Johnson, according to the police report.
Police found injuries to her face and bruising around her neck. The alleged incident with the security guard happened after Johnson was taken down to their main office for questioning, where the former Penn State star supposedly told an officer, “I’ll rip your [bleeping] vocal chords out."
Johnson denied all wrongdoing. Is it me or is somebody lying?
Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on second-year defensive end J.J. Watt, who has 8.5 sacks through five games, to the Houston Chronicle:
“He’s going to be a bust — not a first-round bust but a bust in the Hall of Fame. The only players I’ve seen that can do what he can do with his intensity can be found in Canton."
“45-3 really? Good thing I didn’t stay up and watch that game. Looks like our revamped defense is working great! Sad times to be a bills fan." - Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks.
198 — Yankees’ payroll, in millions of dollars and the highest in MLB, en route to winning the AL East.
49 — Athletics’ payroll, in millions of dollars and the lowest in MLB, en route to winning the AL West.
• Classy move last week by Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who called official Wayne Elliott after the infamous Green Bay-Seattle game. Elliott made the final call on the controversial touchdown. McCarthy wanted to make sure he was OK.
• West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has the inside lane on the Heisman Trophy after the USC’s Matt Barkley’s slow start. Smith’s gaudy statistics include an 81 completion percentage, 24 TDs and no interceptions.
• Jerry Sandusky’s prison sentence must have been missing a zero or two. The judge meant 300 to 600 years behind bars handing down the sentence, right?