This archived article was written by: Susan Polster, Ph.D.
I’m a college sports junkie, have been most my life. I’m always betting on football and basketball games (albeit diet Coke and red licorice) and look forward to rivalries.
Each winter I like to watch the rivalries between College of Eastern Utah’s men’s basketball program against College of Southern Idaho, Snow or Salt Lake Community College. Then there’s that one weekend every November, when my life revolves around the University of Utah versus Brigham Young University football game. I’m famous for sending a five-gallon bucket of red candy to my friends who have tickets on the 50-yard line of Lavell Edwards Stadium to munch on during the game.
Although I am always disappointed when my Utes lose, I still love the excitement of the game … until Saturday when BYU quarterback Max Hall told me he hated my alma mater, the Ute football organization and myself. I’ve never met Hall so I take offense that he “hates” me.
Quoting Hall, “I think the whole university and their fans and organization is classless … I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them.” He told the reporters after the game that, “Utah fans threw beer on my family and stuff last year and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don’t respect them, and they deserve to lose.”
There are crappy BYU fans as well as Utah fans and even some BYU fans that curse … eek. There’s no excuse for bad fan behavior. Beer is not allowed in BYU’s stadium nor is it allowed in Utah’s stadium. Security is prevalent in both stadiums so why wasn’t security contacted by Hall’s family when Utah fans “did a whole bunch of nasty things?”
His apology released by BYU’s sports department on Sunday did nothing to ease my pain over his senseless, degrading remarks over a football game. I asked myself, was it his idea to apologize, or the BYU public relations pundits who saw the war of words hitting the presses to make him seem like he was sincere?
It did not even matter when the Mountain West Conference issued a public reprimand on Monday over Hall’s remarks. His statements overshadowed the entire game and will go into the Utah/BYU history books just as Lenny Gomes 1993 memorable and incendiary “pumping my gas” remark.
I believe in free speech but when the words “hate” become part of that speech then Hall’s remarks crossed the decency line. Hatred is an emotion that is taught and apparently Hall took the 1010 hate class to heart, probably earning an A+. His angry words hurt, angered and divided the schools.
The definition of “hate” is routinely debated by Congress’ Judiciary Committees. However, the mindless gutter language that Hall spurted out was loaded, taking down anyone who had any affiliation with the U of U. His remarks were insulting, vengeful and insightful of his feelings towards many incredibly good human beings who affiliate themselves in one way or another with the flagship university.
Life’s lessons can be tough, but adding Hall’s name to the BYU/Utah Hall of Shame is priceless. And by the way, what was the name of the player who caught the winning touchdown? Susan Polster, Eagle adviser