Sports rivalries go back literally over a hundred years. As Kentucky fans, we are used to heated rivalries with Louisville, Tennessee, etc. In some cases, fans of each side of a rivalry get a little carried away with the rhetoric and hyperbole, but in most cases there is no harm and no foul. Also as Kentucky fans, we are used to the lunatic fringe 5% being responsible for our being labeled as crazy, insane, etc.
However, sometimes "fans" in an intense rivalry take it a step too far. One of the most heated rivalries in any sport is Alabama-Auburn. The latest in this rivalry? Someone poisoned the the 130 year old oak trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner.
The city of Auburn Police Division is investigating the situation, and the application of this herbicide, known as Spike 80DF, or tebuthiuron, is also governed by state agricultural laws and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Officials said in a news release that the lowest amount of the poison detected was 0.78 parts per million, described by horticulture experts as a “very lethal dose.” The highest amount detected was 51 parts per million, or 65 times the lowest dose. Experts believe a normal application by itself would have been enough to kill the trees, which are estimated to be more than 130 years old.
The trees will not survive, and the poison is thought to have contaminated the water table as well. The area around the trees will have to be excavated.
Now, who would do this? An Alabama fan
prior to after the Iron Bowl
Auburn discovered the poisoning after taking soil samples on Jan. 28, a day after a man called a syndicated radio show based in Birmingham saying he had used the herbicide on the trees.
"The weekend after the Iron Bowl, I went to Auburn, Ala., because I live 30 miles away, and I poisoned the Toomer's trees," the caller told The Paul Finebaum Radio Show, saying he was at the Iron Bowl.
Calling himself "Al from Dadeville," he said he used Spike 80DF, also known as tebuthiuron, and the trees "definitely will die." The caller signed off with, "Roll Damn Tide."
Is this what sports have become to some people? Because you are a fan of a particular team, you think it is your right to commit a felony and cause major enviornmental damage?
I like this take from Clay Travis to close out the thought:
The country's most storied rivalry has descended into a vituperative pit of discord that doesn't befit the actual game. Message boards have stoked the fury, crazies have found each other and bonded on the Internet, this cauldron of small-time convicts and big-time losers has taken over the game and the people with the most at stake in this rivalry -- you know, the small minority of fans who actually went to either college -- are being swept aside by a rising tide of idiocy. Alabama's always been crazy about football, but somehow this year the state came completely untethered from reality.
So you want to really teach the dumbest Alabama and Auburn fans a lesson? Do what you do to children who can't behave themselves: take away their favorite toy. Send them to bed without supper, teach them that discipline is real and it exists in this world. Teach those fans who are actually intelligent to self-police the idiots. Don't play the Iron Bowl for a year. The only thing worse than losing the Iron Bowl? Not getting to play it at all.