Last week one of the most prominent Auburn fans in the nation made a few remarks that were perceived as anti-gay. According to the non-partisan Media Matters County Fair blog, Rick Burgess and Bill ‘Bubba’ Bussey, hosts of The Rick and Bubba Show which is syndicated throughout the south, went on what progressive blogger Pam Spaulding described as ‘incredible homophobic rant about sin, adultery, fornication and everything but the kitchen sink over the fact that the President declared June Pride month.’”
It is known that Auburn fans pride themselves on being one of the most conservative sets of football fans in the country. Just listen to the Auburn callers on Paul Finebaum’s show for a sampling of their views. So, it isn’t surprising an Auburn fan might say something conservative. But, it could be important beyond the political and social level. What could it mean for recruiting? Will it hurt Auburn’s bid to rebuild its program through an emphasis on family?
One person who follows recruiting in the SEC dismissed the question. He might be right. It might not hurt Auburn at all.
Auburn doesn’t recruit in areas of the country with a high gay population—places like California, New York or Knoxville, Tennessee. It is the price and benefit of being a lesser program.
However, don’t think for a second that rival coaches won’t use this against Auburn. Rivals will point out this attitude isn’t very progressive; coaches will tell recruits Auburn is a Podunk town that isn’t as cosmopolitan as other places like Baton Rouge or Starkville.
It cannot be doubted; the Rick and Bubba Show just made rebuilding Auburn’s football team more difficult for Gene Chizik and Pat Dye, and helped the folks in progressive colleges like Mississippi State and LSU.