Paul Finebaum has called extreme fans what they are—lunatics. However, the lunatic fringe doesn’t believe it is a fringe or lunatic.
According to Finebaum nemesis the Never To Yield Foundation, “Where is the fringe, Paul? You don’t find it in the people who ask that you be denied access to the Auburn sidelines and you don’t find it here.” (source)
What? Really? It isn’t fringe to ban someone over a difference of opinion?
Isn’t that what a university is all about?
I know most football fans in the South didn’t attend a college, but everyone should know a university is about a diversity of opinions. The world’s first university, the University of Bologna guaranteed freedom of opinion. Different opinions are a cornerstone of a good university, and this is what all major institutions have recognized.
Auburn University itself is interested in promotion of this sacred principle.
Why should its football team and its fans not equally support this defining element of a university?
Isn’t the athletic department an extension of the university? Isn’t the athletic department part of the university’s mission?
It is wrong to ban Finebaum over what he says or thinks. Even the athletic department of a university should stay true to the core principles of the university itself.
Sure, our passions may rise in a moment of anger, but we should all refrain from being Harvey Updykes.
We should all refrain from the Auburn fan’s logic that compared Paul Finebaum to Osama Bin Laden.
This is why Auburn’s leadership should repudiate any move to ban Finebaum from campus. It should send a message to all fans that disagreements are no reason to respond with harshness.
Auburn prides itself on being the “Christian University.” What is Christian in the war against Finebaum? What is Christian in refusing to turn the other cheek and welcome our brothers with hospitality?
The same spirit that wants Finebaum banned from campus and compares Finebaum with a terrorist is everything wrong with college football.
It isn’t worthy of our universities and colleges. It is lunatic. It is fringe.
It is wrong.
And nothing the Never To Yield Foundation can say will ever change or legitimize it.