Monday, October 8, 2012

Be Honest: If You Were a Chiefs Fan, You Would've Booed Cassel, Too

By: Kerrance James

As a life-long Chiefs fan (and it has been a long, long 26 years), I feel as though I’m required to weigh in on this whole Matt Cassel thing. So here goes nothing.

Let it be known that I am unabashedly one of those fans who has no issue with booing his favorite team when they egregiously underachieve. Aside from seeing the visiting teams play, the only highlight of having Wizards’ season tickets last year was when all 29 of us would make sure Andray Blatche knew how much we “question” his “talent” every time he came to the scorer’s table. That being said, here were my tweets about Matt Cassel while watching the game yesterday:

“First and goal at 7. False start. Rush for -8 yards. Rush for -2 yards. Timeout. Rush attempt from the 22. Field goal. #Chiefs”

“When I watch Matt Cassel and Romeo Crennel at work, I feel like Mike Ehrmantrout before they melt the dirtbike kid in acid. #BreakingKC”

“Somebody please take Matt Cassel behind the shed and put him out of my misery.”

“If Cassel stays in the game, Crennel is saying they don’t trust Quinn to underthrow his receiver on 4 straight attempts and fumble snaps (into the end zone).”

“Maybe I watched too much Joe Flaccid vs. Matt Asshole, but that (Aaron) Rodgers pass was the best thing I’ve seen all day.”

Now, I didn’t see the hit that knocked Cassel out of the game. After three quarters of watching some of the worst football of all time, I elected to switch over to the feed of my favorite baseball team playing in the playoffs for the first time in more than three of my lifetimes #GoNats. I eventually flipped back over to the football game and saw that Brady Quinn was finally in the game and I was ecstatic. It wasn’t until sometime after the game ended that I found out Cassel was knocked out with a concussion. My assumption was that Romeo Crennel finally came to his senses and decided to pull the quarterback that hasn’t held a lead at any point during a game this season; the quarterback who leads the NFL in turnovers; the quarterback who the fans had (rightly) been booing for 8 consecutive quarters.

Would I have cheered if I saw Brady Quinn coming into the game after it was an injury and not a worthless track record that knocked Cassel out of the game? Yeah, I probably would have. At any rate, I can’t blame the fans who did.

The divide between fans and athletes is a bizarre one. Today’s athletes feel like they don’t owe their fans anything (maybe they don’t) while most fans would disagree with that sentiment on at least some level. Without fans, there would be no sports (WNBA notwithstanding). You can argue that you play for the love of the game, but I doubt Matt Cassel would suit up on a weekly basis to get sacked in front of an empty stadium while receiving no income for his troubles. Whether the fans agreed with the six year / $62 million contract Matt Cassel signed in July 2009 (we never did, and, my God, we still have to put up with him for 2.7 more seasons?!), he wouldn’t get paid a dime if the fans hadn’t spent their hard-earned income on tickets, concessions, and merchandise week in and week out for the past 50 years. So we get upset when our teams have terrible QBs and terrible head coaches the same way shareholders would get upset with a CEO who repeatedly expressed confidence in a CFO and CIO who caused the company to lose money in three consecutive fiscal years. But at least big companies have shareholder meetings let allow their shareholders the illusion of some sort of effect over the company if they put enough stock into it – with our sports teams, we’re just hemorrhaging money with no control and no potential for financial return. You can’t protest sports; no fan base is organized enough to orchestrate a walk-out or a boycott, and even if they did, other people would just fill the stadium. Our only outlet is to boo when we’re upset with the product. And no one had a problem with us booing Matt Cassel – until he got injured.

Let’s pretend for a second that the Jets have a snowball’s chance in Dubai of making tonight’s game against the Texans a competitive one. And let’s also assume that Mark Sanchez gets the start, turns the ball over 4 times, and is still in the game in the 4th quarter. You don’t think Jets fans are vehemently booing him and hoping beyond hope that Rex will put Tebow in the game? If Sanchez leaves the game without getting injured, the media will tear his and Rex Ryan’s ass apart for not doing it sooner…but if he leaves with a concussion, we should accuse the fans of being heartless for not getting down on a knee like it’s U-12 soccer and praying for his health after loathing him for a month straight?

When the Browns left Cleveland in 1995 and the fans went absolutely berserk during the final game, nobody blamed them. When the Braves arguably got screwed over in an idiotic one game playoff format and the fans who paid hundreds of dollars to sit within throwing distance of the field decided to throw garbage in protest, it may have been an ugly scene for baseball, but we certainly all understood where they were coming from and probably would have done the same thing. By definition, fans are literally crazy, and we usually praise them for their passion and dedication, as long as they don’t cross some arbitrary line. Most of us know it’s okay (and rather fun) to boo the officials, and most of us know it’s not okay to start fights with other fans in the stands, or even worse, in the parking lot after the game. But possessing the ability to flip a switch from hating someone as an athlete to caring for them as a person? Clearly we don’t all have that skill.

Perhaps it’s the fault of athletes increasingly making themselves inaccessible to fans over the past two decades, thus dehumanizing them in our minds. Perhaps it’s the fault of fantasy football turning athletes into possessions rather than people. Perhaps it’s the fault of Twitter and internet forums allowing people to hide behind a pseudonym and say whatever they want without repercussion. Whatever it is, to some degree we are incapable of recognizing that underneath the uniforms and aside from the skills they have, athletes are human beings just like the rest of us.

On a side note, wasn’t that one of the weakest hits in recent memory to result in a concussion? Maybe the NFL should be less concerned with our response to injuries and more concerned with designing better equipment/rules to stop them from happening.

All that being said, I’m glad we get to usher in the Brady Quinn era, regardless of what finally caused it to transpire.


  1. your a terrible person

    1. Leave it to "Anonymous" to prove my point. Nice spelling of you're, by the way.

  2. thanks poopy pants

  3. but seriously you make no point with the jets example tonight. yes rex ryan would be criticized for leaving hi in, but the fans shouldnt be happy if their player got hurt and especially shouldn't be cheering. classless.

  4. Just making sure you know I still read your stuff :-)

    Loved the talk regarding the boycott through the safety equipment. What's worse: the fact that fans are honest about their opinions (though they are horrible opinions in reality) or the fact that the NFL (NBA, NHL, etc.) lies to our faces and has the worst "customer support" of any major company and yet, we go back for more. They say they care about player safety and their equipment is not top notch. They say they care about keeping costs in check and the ticket prices are through the roof. Finally, they say they care about the little people like the merchants, etc. but ignore it was a lockout, not a strike. They only care about the little people when convenient. Like you said, though- it's moot. Perhaps we do need a sports Czar. First candidate to support this notion gets my vote.

    Keep up the good writing.