Curtis Kitchen has followed the Big 12, Kansas State and national college basketball beat including K-State's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in 2010. You can currently follow his work at his blog: KitchenKC.com In the past, he also covered the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) for Major League Soccer's mlsnet.com site as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals for the other sports station in town. His freelance portfolio ranges media outlets and publications, including gopowercat.com (part of the Rivals network), collegehoopsnet.com and the Miami Herald.
Curtis Kitchen: Fightin Words for 10/12
by Curtis Kitchen,posted Oct 12 2012 3:03PM
Each week, it might be me mixing it up (good), an aggravated quote from a coach or player (better) or an irritated email or angsty tweet from you (best). One way or the other, we’ll hash it out because here, in this column on 610sports.com, we definitely talk about the club. It’s FIGHTIN’ WORDS! - ck
“Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about our fans, and I feel like it’s important to set the record straight. I know our fans.” — Clark Hunt
We won’t soon forget Eric Winston’s initial comments or the following organizational silence. We won’t forget Eric Winston’s second-day, unrepentant comments or the following organizational Facebook weak sauce that said, “Chiefs fans are the best.” And, we won’t forget day three, when Winston wanted to finally move past things and talk at least a little about Tampa Bay, and the Chiefs brass finally came forward with a canned, woefully short, detached message about having the best fans in the NFL.
Above quarterbacks and general managers, Clark Hunt’s statement was icing on the apathetic cake. It addressed far too late a problem that unnecessarily was allowed to grow. The statement, based on timeliness alone, was probably fine had it come out late Sunday. On Monday, it would have still been accepted, even if not acceptable. By Tuesday, it was trying to put a Band-Aid on a car wreck victim. Laughably, 92 words arrived Wednesday.
What was of substance in those 92 words? Nothing. What was in those 72 hours? Everything.
In a season that has featured Twitter backlash between the organization and fans, newspaper columns highlighting front-office arrogance, and weeks of bad play, the most damaging charge to come out of all that is that there is a lack of leadership.
This past week, the situation demanded it. The situation, which reached a national level, got less than 100 words in response three full days after it happened. What were conversations like between Winston’s comments on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday’s statement? Where was everyone?
Where is it? Where is the take-charge attitude or guiding force? Clark Hunt was able to step forward during the NFL labor negotiations. He spoke on behalf of the owners more than a few times. Some have pointed to that as an example that Hunt knows how to step forward and lead. My concern is that maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it wasn’t Hunt. Maybe the other owners simply pushed him forward to voice their collective thoughts. There is certainly no inspiring, leader-type creativity in that, just like there was little to none in the recent statement with his name on it.
You know your fans, Clark?
Judging by comments sent to me and those I’ve read on the Chiefs web site, I seriously wonder if that’s the case.
Fighting words for a Chiefs fan? ABSOLUTELY!!! There have never been such infuriating words come from an internal source that has done more to tear down one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. He has alienated not only the fans, but anyone from wanting to become a member of the Kansas City Chiefs orginazation, from the General Manager right on down to the players. Eric Winston has destroyed what the founding Mr. Hunt started building over 50 years ago, in a 5 minute rant against a non deserving crowd. Since when does a player hold a press conference.
You can kiss your pie in the sky hopes of hiring someone like Cower or Gruden goodby. Who in their right mind would want to step into a hornets nest locally and nationally. It would take someone of their makeup to even have the CAJONES to do it.
The lack of leadership is now overwhelmingly evident. The first order of business on Monday should have come with an appoligee from the General Manager to the loyal fans and followed up by a pink slip to our disgusted, non-gladiator, so called player.