In last Sunday's National Football League action, fans of the Kansas City Chiefs showed their ugly side when their unpopular starting quarterback Matt Cassel was knocked out of the game, and the hometown crowd cheered. After the game, Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston went on an epic rant, saying that the NFL "isn't the Roman Coliseum" and called the behavior "absolutely sickening."
If there's one region of the country that's intimately familiar with stories like this, it's Philadelphia. Philly sports fans are criticized constantly for everything from booing Santa Claus, to throwing batteries to intentionally vomiting on a child. To get some perspective on this issue, I contacted three Philadelpiha sports blogs and got the scoop from Corey Seidman of Phillies Nation, Kyle Scott of Crossing Broad and Jason Brewer of Bleeding Green Nation. Here's what they said:
Dumb As A Blog: What's your take on Chiefs fans in Kansas City? Should they be ashamed of themselves?
Scott: They should. Cheering any injury isn't acceptable, especially when it's a head injury or could be serious. It's poor form.
Brewer: I don't think so. We want fans invested in the game and reacting to everything… but then
we criticize them when we don't like the reaction? We criticize people who are whipped up into a frenzy and don't have reporters telling them what's happening for not having context? I think its ridiculous.
Seidman: I won't claim to know much about the fan scene in KC, but it's tough to argue with what Eric Winston said. Unfortunately, this is where we are in today's sports world. Cassel has been terrible this season — maybe the worst starting QB outside of Tennessee — and it was inevitable that there would be cheers when Romeo Crennel made the decision to use another QB. Unfortunately it was an injury that ended Cassel's day. This isn't the first time fans have booed an injured player and it won't be the last.
Dumb As A Blog: Do you have any personal experience where bad fan behavior in Philly caused negative national press? How do you deal with it?
Scott: All the time. It happens in Philly all. the. time. Just like any
other fan base, we have our bad apples. When something happens elsewhere, it's treated like it should be– an
isolated incident that is rarely indicative of an entire fan base. In
Philly, it just perpetuates an unfair stereotype.
Sideman: As we always say, though, this isn't a sign of life in Philadelphia… it is a sign of despicable human beings who happen to live in Philadelphia. 99.99999% of the fanbase would never dream of doing such a thing.
Dumb As A Blog: Are you worried that Kansas City will eclipse Philly’s fearsome reputation for unruly fans?
Brewer: No, I'm not worried. I think all of us here would happily welcome someone else taking on that reputation.
Dumb As A Blog: What do you think the national reaction would have been if this had happened in Philly?
Sideman: The Apocalypse?
Scott: Philadelphia would never have lived down cheering OUR OWN injured player. Hell, we can't get past cheering Michael Irvin's neck injury at the Vet. That was years ago. It would have immediately been added to the list of wrongdoings, like the Santa incident from decades ago. "Philly fans throw snowballs at Santa" is something you see all the time, yet it happened 40 years ago, on a cold, miserable day, when the decision was made that a drunken, replacement Santa would try to pump up a crowd that had just watched the Eagles get crushed during the first half. It didn't work, and he got a few snow balls tossed his way. If we can't shake that non-incident, I suspect cheering our own player's injury would have appeared just under "Constitutional Congress" on Philadelphia's Wikipedia page.
Dumb As A Blog: Anything else to add?
Scott: I'm sad to see what happened in KC. That's awful. But this stuff happens everywhere. The people of KC aren't bad. Or Chicago. Or San Fran. Or New York. Or LA — OK, maybe LA. Or Philly. Stuff happens at sporting events. I'm just glad when it's not here.