When the Cheering Stops



Before we start I have something to say. … We are athletes, OK? We are athletes. We're not gladiators. This isn't the Roman Coliseum. People pay their money, hard-earned money, to come in here, and I believe they can boo, they can cheer, they can do whatever they want. … Hey, we're lucky to play this game. A game. … People .. it's hard economic times, and they still pay the money to to do this. OK? 
But when somebody gets hurt, there are long-lasting ramifications to the game we play. Long-lasting ramifications to the game we play. All right? I've already kind of come to the understanding I probably won't live as long because I play this game, and that's OK, that's the choice I've made. That's the choice all of us have made. 
But when you cheer, when you cheer, somebody getting knocked out, I don't care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel, it's sickening. It's 100 percent sickening. I've never ever -- and I've been in some rough times, on some rough teams -- I've never been more embarrassed in my life to play football then at that moment right there. And I get emotional about it because these guys, they work their butts off. Matt Cassel hasn't done anything to you people. He hasn't done anything to you people. Hasn't done anything to the media writers that kill him. Hasn't done anything wrong to the people that come out here and cheer him. 
Hey, if he's not the best quarterback out there, he's not the best quarterback. And that's OK. But he's a person. And he got knocked out in a game, and we got 70,000 people cheering that he got knocked out. Boo him all you want. Boo me all you want. Throw me under the bus. Tell me I'm doing a bad job. Say I gotta protect him more, do whatever you want, say whatever you want. But if you're one of those people, one of those people out there cheering, or even smiled, when he got knocked out, I just want to let you know, and I want everyone to know that I think it's sickening and disgusting. 
We are not gladiators, and this is not the Roman Coliseum. This is a game, and I'll sit here and answer all your questions the next 30 minutes if you want to ask them, and I'll take all the responsibility you want me to take because I deserve it and if you want to blame, blame me. Don't blame the guy, don't cheer for a guy who's done everything in his power to play as good as he can for the fans. It's sickening. And I was embarrassed. And I want every single one of you people to put that on your station, to put that in your newspapers. Because I want every fan to know that. 
This is a game that's going to cost us a lot down the road, and that's OK. We picked it. We deserve it. I don't want your pity. But we've got a lot of problems as a society if people think that's OK.

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