On days like this, when someone falls from a lofty perch, I’m particularly grateful I’m free from any personal demons, big or little.
Otherwise, laughing at Max Hall would be somewhat awkward.
By now it’s out there -- and all over there – regarding Hall, the former BYU quarterback, who was arrested over the weekend in Arizona on suspicion of shoplifting and possession of cocaine.
That one sentence might burn up enough local social media postings to run the entire Internet for at least an hour. But add to it the fact Hall, in 2009, following BYU’s 26-23 overtime victory over Utah, said of the Utes: "I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program. I hate their fans. I hate everything.”
And he added: “I think the whole university and their fans and organization is classless. They 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."
Yes, add those infamous statement to an already divisive rivalry (one currently on hold for a while) and mix in Tuesday’s sizzling news. What you’ve got then is a steaming pot of indignation, righteous and otherwise.
Immediately after the news broke, social media websites Twitter and Facebook did what they do best … what they’re designed to do. They buzzed. They buzzed with so much traffic, so much news and so many opinions, it was easy to wonder if they were going to spin out of control.
Sports-talk radio buzzed.
Regular-talk radio buzzed.
Cell phone next works buzzed.
Shoot, I’m sure traditional phone lines buzzed.
They say lightning never strikes twice but don’t you dare believe it. It certainly did in Hall’s case, first in 2009 with the “classless” comments and again Tuesday with the shoplifting and the drug possession and the mugshot, complete with a BYU t-shirt.
To be fair, there was a great deal of compassion being shown for Hall on Tuesday. Showing they’re not all so “classless,” a number of professed Utah fans expressed concern for the 28-year-old, correctly noting the seriousness of addiction and the hope Hall and his family might find some help.
On the other hand, as one might expect, there was plenty of piling on. You know the drill: first the jokes (LOL, hahaha … that sort of thing), followed by snippy little shots about classlessness and judgment and, as always, religious bigotry (always a delightful touch).
There’s really no need for anymore play-by-play at this point. You know what happened and what always happens. The indignation spills out, as if somehow Utah fans don’t also pass their own sorts of judgments and BYU haven’t at times sent inappropriate, mean-spirited jokes the other direction.
But enough of my own outrage …
This is supposed to be a sports column, so I’ll try to keep it all in the context of sports.
Max Hall was a good quarterback for the Cougars, one of the best they’ve had. He passed for more than 11,300 yards in his career and threw 94 touchdown passes, both second all-time at BYU. But sadly, between the ridiculous things he said in 2009 and the sad turn of events last weekend, his legacy will be forever overshadowed.
Beyond that, Max Hall, the athlete and human being (if not the BYU-Utah lightning rod), at least needs some compassion, some prayers and some good wishes.
Who can’t agree on that?
Nevermind, I don’t want to know.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo