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NFL Report: Fans misbehavior has consequences

CHIEFS’ WINSTON

BERATES HOME CROWD

BY STEVE DeSHAZO

Since Roger Goodell became commissioner, the NFL has prioritized regulating the conduct of its players and coaches, both on and off the field.

It would be nice if the league could do something about the behavior of its so-called fans, as well.

On a weekend that should have been highlighted by a heart-warming victory by the Indianapolis Colts for ailing coach Chuck Pagano, two disturbing incidents underscored the continued problem of fan misbehavior.

One came in Kansas City, where many in the home crowd cheered after struggling quarterback Matt Cassel went down with a concussion in Sunday’s 9–6 loss to Baltimore.That reaction drew a vitriolic response from Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston.

“It’s 100 percent sickening,” Winston said. “I’ve never, ever—and I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams—I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than at that moment right there. I get emotional about it because these guys, they work their butts off. Matt Cassel hasn’t done anything to you people.

“Hey, if he’s not the best quarterback, he’s not the best quarterback, and that’s OK, but he’s a person. And he got knocked out in a game and we’ve got 70,000 people cheering that he got knocked out.”

On Monday, while acknowledging freedom of speech, Winston clarified that he knew not all 70,000 were applauding the injury.

“It might have been 7,000. It might have been 700. It’s still too many,” he said.

It’s not new for fans to celebrate an injury to a visiting player, as Michael Irvin once discovered in Philadelphia. But cheering one of your own is rare—especially when the alternative is journeyman Brady Quinn.

At least Cassel is expected to be fine eventually. The same can’t be said for Chicago Bears fan William “Chris” Pettry, whose throat was slashed inside a Jacksonville restaurant bar early Sunday morning.

Pettry, an Illinois resident, reportedly had come to town to watch as the Bears played the Jaguars.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, witnesses told detectives that 27-year-old Matthew Hinson cut Pettry’s throat, put the bloody knife in his pocket and calmly walked out of the restaurant. Hinson is being held without bond on a murder charge.

It’s unclear what preceded the alleged assault. And the NFL clearly has no jurisdiction over what goes on in public places.

Still, fan misbehavior is a constant issue. Most stadiums cut off alcohol sales in the third quarter of games and public-address announcements encourage spectators to text security personnel with safety concerns.

But incidents persist. The roots of the problem often include excessive alcohol consumption at pregame tailgate parties and an overinflated identification with the home team. (In Kansas City, it obviously wasn’t loyalty to every Chiefs player.)

As Winston pointed out, a small percentage of fans can ruin the experience for thousands. After this past weekend, though, perhaps all fans could use a refresher course in etiquette (and common sense).

UPSET PICK

Now 1–3, The Pick will put its trust in the desperate and rested Lions (4-point road underdogs) to harass Michael Vick into more turnovers and beat the Eagles.

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443

sdeshazo@freelancestar.com

    COUNTING DOWN

    1. Texans (5–0)

    Loss of Cushing is huge.

    2. Falcons (5–0)

    TE Gonzalez is ageless.

    3. 49ers (4–1)

    300 yards on ground, in air.

    4. Bears (4–1)

    Five defensive TDs in 2012.

    5. Ravens (4–1)

    Playing down to competition.

    6. Patriots (3–2)

    Brady’s offense is rolling.

    7. Vikings (4–1)

    Huge challenge for ’Skins.

    8. Giants (3–2)

    Pass rush is inconsistent.

    9. Cardinals (4–1)

    RB Williams is lost again.

    10. Packers (2–3)

    Injuries, losses mounting.

    11. Broncos (2–3)

    Manning can’t play defense.

    12. Eagles (3–2)

    Vick’s fumbles a problem.

    13. Bengals (3–2)

    Didn’t convert third downs.

    14. Steelers (2–2)

    No Polamalu vs. Titans.

    15. Seahawks (3–2)

    Defense braces for Patriots.

    16. Rams (3–2)

    Losing Amendola hurts.

    17. Chargers (3–2)

    Big game vs. Denver.

    18. Cowboys (2–2)

    Need more from run game.

    19. Dolphins (2–3)

    Run defense is NFL’s best.

    20. Colts (2–2)

    Inspired win for ailing Pagano.

    21. Redskins (2–3)

    As RGIII goes

    22. Saints (1–4)

    Still time to salvage year?

    23. Lions (1–3)

    Four of next five on road.

    24. Jets (2–3)

    Still sticking with Sanchez.

    25. Bills (2–3)

    DT Williams: ‘We stink.’

    26. Buccaneers (1–3)

    Rested, ready for Chiefs.

    27. Panthers (1–4)

    Soph slump for Newton.

    28. Raiders (1–3)

    Both starting CBs injured.

    29. Chiefs (1–4)

    Fans cheered Cassel injury.

    30. Jaguars (1–4)

    Gabbert isn’t progressing.

    31. Titans (1–4)

    Hasselbeck will start again.

    32. Browns (0–5)

    Haden’s back; too late?

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