Ravens fans once cheered an injured QB

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
9:59
AM ET
Baltimore Ravens fans must have had flashbacks of a low point in their city's football history when they heard Chiefs fans cheer after Haloti Ngata knocked out struggling Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel with a concussion. It was seven years ago when a portion of the crowd in Baltimore cheered as quarterback Kyle Boller was on the ground writhing in pain with a toe injury.

I was covering that game when fans turned on Boller and remember feeling shocked as well as sickened, to steal a term from Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston. Fans have the right to cheer and boo. But that doesn't make it right. It was wrong when they did it to Boller and they were wrong when they did it to Cassel. This has nothing to do with what you think about Cassel or Boller as quarterbacks. It's classless, plain and simple.

"For them to cheer for him being hurt, that's just not cool,” Ngata told The Baltimore Sun.

To be happy when you see a player in pain crosses the line of fan decorum. This type of cutthroat reaction shows the level of detachment between fans and players. In this world of fantasy football, players are seen more as chess pieces than people. But these guys who suit up on Sundays are people, even though they are in a different tax bracket than most of us.

I get that fans pay a lot of money to attend these games. I know that actions at a stadium can be chalked up to alcohol or mob mentality. Just don't expect me to understand. Fans hold the players on their team to a certain expectations. They should hold themselves to that same high standard.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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