Sports

Chiefs Fans Revolt Against Ownership, Losing Ways

By KATHLEEN GIER, Associated Press
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A Kansas City Chiefs fan with a bag over his head holds up a sign during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium on November 18, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. / (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A Kansas City Chiefs fan with a bag over his head holds up a sign during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium on November 18, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. / (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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KANSAS CITY (AP) — Terry Glenn has been a season ticketholder for the Kansas City Chiefs since 1969, showing up in red every game to cheer on the team, win or lose.

On Sunday, he’d finally had enough.

Glenn was dressed solemnly in black, hoping to make a statement by participating in a fan-organized campaign to blackout Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs’ 28-6 loss to the Bengals — an attempt to convey their displeasure with a 1-9 start.

“I am actually ashamed to wear Chiefs sweatshirts and shirts around town anymore and I never thought I’d say that,” said Glenn, whose longtime friend Steve Leasure joined him in the blackout.

They’ve been attending games together since they met in the stands during that ’69 season.

“We’re still engaged, we are still doing what we’ve done as fans for 40 years, but they are not doing what they’ve done in the past 40 years,” Leasure said. “They’ve completely changed.”

Arrowhead Stadium was roughly half-full against Cincinnati and a good percentage of those who showed up were also wearing black. Prior to the game, an airplane towed a banner — also paid for by fans — asking for general manager Scott Pioli to be fired.

Some fans handing out fliers pleading for the same result were told by security to stop.

An obituary for Loren G. Lickteig, a former city councilman from Grandview, Mo., who died last Wednesday, ran in The Kansas City Star on Sunday. It listed his cause of death as “complications from MS and heartbreaking disappointment caused by the Kansas City Chiefs football team.”

“We spend thousands of dollars every year to come out here and do this,” said Jared Stach, a ticketholder since 2009, “and we don’t get rewarded, and we are over it.”

The Chiefs have lost seven straight games, their lone victory this season requiring a franchise-record 18-point comeback at New Orleans. Only three of their 10 games have been decided by one possession, and just like Sunday, they’re usually in a big hole by halftime.

The value of tickets has dropped to the point that Glenn said he found some in a similar section to where he paid $93 available for $8 prior to the game. And while enough were sold to prevent a local TV blackout, that’s no certainty the rest of the season.

Enough have also been sold for next week’s game against Denver that it will be shown, but there are still games to come against Indianapolis and woeful Carolina.

Still, there were some diehard fans that remain firmly behind the embattled team.

Shanda Evans proudly marched up to the gate covered in Chiefs logos down to her red-and-yellow-tasseled gloves. She admitted to being harassed in the parking lot by other fans, some of whom wondered by she wasn’t wearing black, but was prepared with a retort.

“I was born a Chiefs fan and I am not going to change that just because they are not winning,” she said. “That’s my team till the day I die.”

Stach said even though he wore black on Sunday, his loyalty to the franchise has not wavered. There is still a pride associated with being a Chiefs fan, no matter the record.

“There are other people who have fallen off the wagon,” Stach said. “When they are good again and put a winning team on the field, I will be there and say that I was with them the whole way. I don’t want to say I wasn’t ever a fan.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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