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Chiefs owner defends his team's 'passionate' fans

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt is coming to the defense of fans in Kansas City.

The chief executive and most visible individual in the ownership family issued a statement Wednesday in which he described Chiefs fans as "passionate, hardworking, loyal, educated football fans," and said they are the "heart and soul of the Arrowhead experience."

The fans have been the subject of national scrutiny this week after offensive lineman Eric Winston laid into a small percentage of them who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel was injured in a 9-6 loss to Baltimore last Sunday. Cassel sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter.

"They know cheering an injury to anyone in any stadium is unacceptable," Hunt said. "I want to make it perfectly clear: A small few who may have cheered when Matt went down do not accurately represent the best fans in the National Football League. Period."

Winston's diatribe, in which he called the segment of fans cheering Cassel's injury "sickening," quickly went viral. It was dissected on ESPN, and more mainstream television news programs such as "Good Morning American" and the "Today" show offered their take on it.

It hasn't helped that the Chiefs have scuffled to a 1-4 start.

"The majority of the Chiefs fans are not going to cheer a player getting hurt. I think the majority of Chiefs fans support the Chiefs. They want the chiefs to win," coach Romeo Crennel said. "Are they frustrated? Yes, they're frustrated, just like we're frustrated."

Winston said he's received overwhelming support in the locker room, but acknowledged that he was "naive" to think that his comments would not gain traction nationally.

"If there was anything I could take back, and not even take back, just clarify more that I was speaking to the people who were cheering and not the total fanbase. I realize how great the fans are here," Winston said. "That's the one thing I wish I was a little more clear about."

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