Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson addresses accusation of racial slur from fans
The Chiefs say they have looked into Washington receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr’s claims that Chiefs fans called him the “N-word” during Monday night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium and haven’t found anything to substantiate them.
“Washington didn’t make our people aware of an incident, the people we have on the sideline didn’t see one before or after the game and as far as we know, no one from the league office was called to his aid during or after the game,” said Ted Crews, the Chiefs’ vice president of communications. “There was no incident or report from the stands.”
Crews, however, noted that if the incident did happen, and there’s a fan out there who has footage of the incident or knows who did it, the Chiefs do want to know that. The team can be reached 816-920-9300.
Pryor was caught on video making an obscene gesture to a fan after the Chiefs’ 29-20 win and had to be restrained while walking through the tunnel. Another video shows a fan yelling “Hey Terrelle, you a (expletive), (expletive) you, (expletive) Ohio State!”
At that point, Pryor appeared to turn toward the person holding the camera and gave the fan an obscene gesture.
On Wednesday evening, when video of the incident first circulated, Pryor took to Instagram to defend himself, saying fans had provoked him the entire game with inflammatory language.
“Being called a (n-word) several times to the point where an NFL employee had to step to me and stand by me the whole game from 2nd quarter on is the exact reason why guys are kneeling during anthem. I choose not to kneel because as a team we decided to be the one and stand ... but as I walked in tunnel hearing someone call me a (n-word) and say F you to me ... me flicking the person off is more deserving. I do apologize to my teammates and the organization. But at some point you keep calling us The N word ... we going to start acting up.”
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told USA Today on Thursday that a review of Pryor’s claim is underway.
“I don’t want to go too far down the road of hypotheticals, but we have no tolerance for racial remarks directed at anyone in a stadium,” Lockhart said. “Those fans are not welcome to come back this week, next week or any time. I don’t want to get ahead of the review, but our underlying principle is clear.”
Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, a 13-year veteran, was one of a handful of Chiefs who said they never heard the “N-word” from the stands in a game.
“I pray that didn’t happen, but if it did, shame on them” Johnson said. “I have a lot of respect for our fans, so I would hope that didn’t go on because that’s a bad reflection of what we are at Arrowhead.”
Johnson said he’s had about 10 teammates over the years say they’ve heard the word at opposing stadiums, with the last incident coming about three or four years ago.
“Guys in the past have told me, ‘Hey, somebody called me the ‘N-word’ before,” Johnson said. “I’ve never heard it, it’s never been said to me, but I have had guys say it has happened.”
The Pryor drama occurred on the heels of Marcus Peters’ blowup at a fan in the second half of the Chiefs’ win. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he addressed the incident with Peters and made it clear that as a professional, that can’t happen.
Johnson said player and fan interaction isn’t anymore vicious now than it used to be –– there are just more cameras now, so any incidents tend to get more coverage.
“This has been happening for a while now, as far as interaction with players and fans,” Johnson said. “I don’t get into it. When we’re on an away game, people say stuff all the time to you. Not necessarily racist stuff, but I look at them, I smile or wink my eye at them or something. But I think it’s part of the game.”