Current and Former NFL Players React to Chiefs Fans Cheering the Injury of Chiefs Quarterback Matt Cassel on

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Players have mixed feelings about fan reaction during Sunday's game.

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"I understand some fans may boo when a player isn't playing to his potential, but to cheer when he gets hurt is in itself disgraceful,” said former Chiefs Quarterback Quinn Gray.

The NFL had a gravely disturbing moment this past Sunday, when some fans in Kansas City cheered after their own quarterback, Matt Cassel, left the game with a head injury. Those cheers erupted at a time when even casual fans are learning that head injuries often have lifelong consequences for the players who endure them.

Equally jarring was the fact the home fans celebrated one of their own getting battered, and that this all occurred in what's thought to be a mild-mannered Midwest market, not some tough-as-nails East Coast metropolis. Among those saddened by the cheers is Mike Bell, a former first-round choice of the Chiefs who spent all 12 years of his NFL career in Kansas City, from 1979-91.

"I don't see where there's a place to cheer a guy who gets hurt," Bell told "It's his career."

Bell, who played defensive end, said that perhaps some Kansas City fans were cheering because they would get to see Brady Quinn take over at quarterback, a move many have called for while Cassel struggled with turnovers this season.

"I think if you looked in the heart of all the people who did that, they're not really happy Matt Cassel is hurt," said Bell, who was at the game. "Some of them were cheering more for a change."

But either way, Bell said, "I'll bet those people now wish they didn't do that."

Bell expects Chiefs fans will attempt to atone at their next home game, Oct. 28 against Oakland.

"I think they will," Bell said. "If they see Matt on the sideline or wherever, I think there will be applause, something that says 'We're sorry, we didn't mean it.' "

Bell said the situation was probably best addressed by Chiefs offensive lineman Eric Winston, who took his case to the news media after Baltimore's 9-6 victory at Arrowhead Stadium dropped Kansas City to 1-4.

"We are not gladiators and this is not the Roman Colosseum. This is a game,'' Winston told reporters.

Many current and former NFL Players voiced their opinion on their social media site, and continue to post comments on the site.

"I understand some fans may boo when a player isn't playing to his potential, but to cheer when he gets hurt is in itself disgraceful,” said former Jacksonville and Kansas City Quarterback Quinn Gray. "But as a former Chief I don't believe those fans were cheering about Matt Cassel getting hurt more so as they were cheering for Brady Quinn getting an opportunity to spark a team that was struggling to move the football up and down the field."

New England Pro Bowl cornerback Devin McCourty shared his thoughts as well.

"It is sad that a person could cheer for a play where a man was hurt and possibly had a concussion," said McCourty. "I thought Eric Winston did a great job of defending his quarterback and those people should feel horrible about their actions."

"After playing 12 years and having very few winning seasons I have heard my fair share of boos, but never for an injured player,” said former Green Bay offensive lineman and first-round draft pick Ron Hallstrom. “It's easy to be critical of what's happening on the field, but this by no means gives a fan the right to humiliate an injured player. Class and dignity are two things that are learned, you are not born with them. We know that not 'all' Chiefs fans are this tasteless. Please show these men the respect they deserve!"

For the full story and player comments, visit

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Tresa Halbrooks
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