NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Reactions Mixed To Chiefs Fans Booing Moment Of Silence Against Racism

091020_Arrowhead4-3.jpg_carlos moreno
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR
Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night.

The moment soon went viral across social media, with many in the local community condemning the reaction from fans.

When the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans locked arms before Thursday night’s home opener, it was meant to serve as a silent moment of protest against racism, inequality and police brutality.

But it was the loud reaction from fans that quickly garnered national attention, reminding everyone how divisive these issues remain, especially when addressed by athletes.

Boos from fans could be heard throughout the moment of silence, during which the stadium’s giant screens contained the following message from both teams:

"We support equality. We must end racism. We believe in justice for all. We must end police brutality. We choose unconditional love. We believe Black Lives Matter. It Takes all of us.”

The moment soon went viral across social media, with many in the local community condemning the reaction from fans.

Mayor Quinton Lucas shared his thoughts following the game.

But others, including Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, praised the fans’ rejection of “woke politics” being “jammed down their throats.”

Former Kansas City Star columnist and sports personality Jason Whitlock agreed.

“The booing you heard at Arrowhead Stadium isn’t hard to understand. Black Lives Matter is toxic and divisive. [Chiefs fans] love their country more than the foolish players who have swallowed Black Lives Matter’s ideology, propaganda and vision for America,” Whitlock wrote in Outkick.com, a right-wing sports site.

Whitlock, who says the Black Lives Matter Movement is “a clever disguise for Marxists and anarchists who seek to destroy American freedoms,” has been critical of athletes who’ve used their platforms to highlight social issues, even likening athlete activism to “male twerking.”

But local artist Michael Tombs, who was behind the BLM mural painted at 31st and Troost last weekend, believes athletes have an especially important role to play in advocating for change.

“Those who have the ability to reach and touch the most hearts are the ones that should step up, Toombs said. “I don’t think [athletes] should be sitting back, collecting money and basically saying ‘somebody oughta.’ We all have a responsibility here, not just politicians.”

Toombs was disappointed that even a short moment of silence was ruined by those who believe athletes should just “stick to sports.”

“Did it really break people’s backs to let them have that one minute? [Athletes] are risking their lives, as well as their bodies, just to give us a couple hours of enjoyment, and we can’t give them one minute?” Toombs asked.

Multiple players shared their thoughts on the moment of unity, as well as the boos.

“Being down there, I honestly didn’t hear a lot of booing. I’ve seen a little bit of the videos after,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes told Yahoo Sports reporter Terez Paylor. “We wanted to show unity and show we were going to come together and fight the good fight, and we hope our fans will support us like they do in the game every single day.”

The boos weren’t lost on Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, however.

“The booing was unfortunate during that moment — I don’t fully understand that, there was nothing involved in that other than two teams coming together to show unity,” Paylor tweeted him as saying.

The Chiefs have yet to release a statement on the fans’ reaction.

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with essential news and information.
Your donation today keeps local journalism strong.