A day after Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston should have gotten a paycheck from ESPN for all the time his face and voice went out over its airwaves, folks in Kansas City are pushing back against the notion that fans cheered the head injury suffered by quarterback Matt Cassel.
KCTV5 has raw video and audio of the play and its aftermath. And while the article at KCTV5.com suggests that Winston’s perception of cheering was inaccurate, the video and audio are at best inconclusive.
First, there are several points where the tape skips ahead, making it less than a comprehensive picture of the events that transpired after Cassel sustained a concussion. Second, the background noise when Cassel is laying on the ground seems much louder than “silence or close thereto,” which would have been the preferred setting under the circumstances. Third, it’s hard to see what the fans in the stands are actually doing while Cassel is on the ground receiving attention from the trainers, since the camera focuses mainly on the field.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, it sounds like there’s a delayed reaction after running back Jamaal Charles is tackled at the end of a 16-yard catch and run. Arguably, the crowd cheers the play, followed by a brief lull, followed by another cheer when it’s obvious that Cassel, who had completed nine passes and generated three turnovers, is flat on his back.
Some have ridiculously suggested that the fans were merely cheering the arrival of backup quarterback Brady Quinn. (To that we say, “Brady Quinn.”) Others have in slightly less ridiculous fashion justified the indiscretion by explaining that fans were merely venting their frustration with the current regime.
Though Winston may have swept too broadly to include fans who didn’t cheer the injury to Cassel, Winston was a first-hand witness to the incident, and the passion he displayed after the game — speaking from the heart and without notes — shows that he honestly experienced something he genuinely believed to be sickening. No matter how upset the fans are with the current direction of the organization, there’s no excuse for celebrating injury, especially now that we know as much as we do about concussions.