KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- 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 left tackle Eric Winston laid into a small percentage of them who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel was injured during a 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens 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 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," coach Romeo Crennel said. "I think the majority of Chiefs fans support the Chiefs. They want the Chiefs to win. Are they frustrated? Yes, they're frustrated, just like we're frustrated."
Winston said he has received overwhelming support in the locker room but acknowledged he was "naive" to think his comments wouldn't 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 fan base," Winston said. "I realize how great the fans are here. That's the one thing I wish I was a little more clear about."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press