Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Fans don't want Johnson to get record
ESPN.com news services
Embattled Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson is 75 yards from becoming the team's all-time leading rusher.
And some Chiefs fans have a problem with that.
An online petition started by Chiefs fans asks general manager Scott Pioli to deactivate Johnson and keep him on the sideline so he cannot pass Priest Holmes for the team rushing record, or join the team's Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium.
Holmes holds the Chiefs' rushing record with 6,070 yards; Johnson currently has 5,996 yards.
"While we are thankful for his service, we feel that Larry has been a black eye on the organization and has no business being mentioned" among the team's all-time greats, the petition reads.
As of Wednesday afternoon ET, at least 1,400 signatures had been collected.
"We are asking you, as fans of this team, this organization, and of the pride that this city has in the Chiefs, please deactivate Larry Johnson. Please do not let his name sit atop the all-time rushing leaders in Kansas City Chiefs history," the petition says. "He has never represented anything close to the values that we have for our Chiefs and it would be another dagger to the fans that continue to support this proud franchise.
"We are asking this as a favor to those of us who have supported this team long, long, long before you were brought in," the petition continued. "We will support you through thick and thin -- you will find out that we are a loyal, loyal bunch. ... However, allowing Larry Johnson to attain a record is something that can never be erased."
The Chiefs suspended Johnson without pay through Nov. 8 after he questioned coach Todd Haley's qualifications on his Twitter account and twice used a homosexual slur. On Monday, the team reached a settlement with Johnson, reducing the amount of pay he would lose in half, to $315,000.
His agent, Peter Schaffer, told The Associated Press that both sides benefited from the settlement and that Johnson had learned from the entire experience.
"Larry apologized," Schaffer said. "He learned from it and hopefully other people learned from it. My hope is that people learn that something positive can come out of this and that there are words that should not be used because they demean people."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.