The event was to feature Harvey Updyke in a dunking booth or a pie throw, where Auburn fans (or any for that matter) could “get even” with him for poisoning their beloved trees. But death threats and other negative messages on social media towards Dee Bonner and Katherine McCarron from our orange and blue brethren have led to the canceling of Mr. Updyke’s appearance.
“It seems to be taking away from the primary purpose, which is raising awareness for children’s cancer,” Bonner said. “We don’t want to take away from the focus. We needed to get away from it.”
Updyke would’ve been a natural draw. The man who has paid his restitution to society for the unfathomable attrocity of poisoning a couple of trees would have brought a crowd to the event by being there. But the blind hatred, not forgiveness or grace, for the man who made a life-altering mistake is just too precious not to point out. This from the fanbase that likes to paint itself as “family and faith” oriented.
That notion definitely took a hit last winter when Rashaan Evans, a prep player from Auburn High School, committed to enroll and play football at the University of Alabama. The Evans family subsequently underwent constant harrassment and verbal assault from those not happy he wouldn’t be playing at Auburn, their family store in Auburn being targeted for boycott in retaliation.
Updyke pleaded guilty in March 2013 to one count of unlawful damage of an animal or crop facility. He was sentenced to six months in jail and served 76 days after being credited for 104 days of time already served.
The event will still go on, however, taking place September 29, and will now certainly have a much smaller crowd than it would have had if Updyke had been permitted to appear. His absence will now likely translate to less financial resources for this deserving charity through the event.
There you have it. Auburn fans love trees more than cancer research that benefits children. Auburn fans, when are you finally going to stop slinging hate and death threats and forgive this man and reach out to him with the love you like to portray yourselves as having?