The South’s most influential media voice has Auburn fans in a tizzy. Paul Finebaum, host of the Paul Finebaum Radio Network and a Sports Illustrated columnist, attended the Auburn-Mississippi State game. Auburn fans in a typical display of SEC hospitality heckled Finebaum. At least the verbal abuse was better than Finebaum’s trip to Auburn in 2009—a trip that resulted in an Auburn fan spitting on Finebaum and two coaches’ wives verbally accosting Finebaum following Auburn’s home loss. (See more on that confrontation here.)
The real story came after the game. Auburn fans on the Bunker, a fan message board on the Auburn Rivals website, vented their frustration about Finebaum. It is clear that Auburn fans fear Paul Finebaum. Auburn posters at AuburnUndercover.com were also pushing a petition or letter drive to get Finebaum banned from campus.
Numerous posts on the Auburn fan website AUSports.com—home of the infamous Jeffrey Lee—urged Auburn administrators to ban Finebaum from Auburn games. One Auburn fan emailed the Auburn athletic department with his complaint. He copied and pasted his email exchange with Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs and Auburn’s Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations.
The Auburn fan complained, “Dear Mr. Jacobs, Please consider denying all press credentials and player/coach access to Paul Finebaum. He has engaged in a baseless, non-stop smear campaign against Auburn. This member of the Auburn family has had enough. We can’t stop our enemies from running their mouths, but we don’t have to take their calls or invite them over to our house.”
You can see the fear. Auburn fans believe Finebaum has a vendetta against the school and the football program. Why? Finebaum defended the school during the height of the Cam Newton controversy. This was something few in the media did. All Finebaum has done in the time since then was ask the status of the NCAA investigation into Auburn’s alleged cheating.
Auburn doesn’t like the answer.
Auburn fans are afraid of what the NCAA is doing, and what Paul Finebaum might find with any real scrutiny of the school. Therefore, Auburn fans want to keep Finebaum away.
Another Auburn fan was outraged the school allowed Finebaum on campus. He wrote, “Some guys in our section were heckling him – telling him to go home. I can’t believe, in the critical moments of the game, I had to look down and see him. He shouldn’t be allowed in the city limits, much less the stadium, much less the freaking sideline.”
And in an attempt to elevate the discourse, another Auburn fan waxed eloquent. This Auburn fan declared (in all capitals), “Auburn people do not want this scumbag at our home stadium. Is there is any way he can be banned from our games? It was terrible this guy was allowed on our campus. He has tried to destroy Auburn. What are the powers to be thinking?”
One was even more eloquent: “Auburn should not allow any of those ass clowns near the campus period!”
Why all the anger at Finebaum for asking a simple question about Auburn’s serious NCAA troubles? There is only one answer: Auburn fans are afraid. Fear is why one Auburn fan on Auburnundercover.com’s message board wanted both Finebaum and Fox Sports Thayer Evans kept away from campus.
So much for Fearless.