BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
For 28 years it's been a pleasure--a pleasure to cover the Alabama football team. And for nearly three decades, when I think of the Crimson Tide I think of class.
I think of Coach Bryant preaching, "We're going to win this game and we're going to do it with class."
I think of Coach Stallings telling his players, "When you score, act like you've been in the end zone before and hand the football to the official."
And I think of how Coach Saban's players consistently portray class in the way they avoid trash talking and deal politely with the media.
Alabama: No-frill classy uniforms, a classy campus, a classy administration. And the fan base? Classy.
Oh, you will occasionally see some fringe lunatics, but that, my friend, is pervasive in all fan bases.
With all of this said, I want to pass along some advice: Ditch the T-shirt that has turned heads only weeks before the season opener.
As Southern Cal Trojan fans get pumped to play the mighty Crimson Tide on Sept. 3, a T-shirt reading "Roll, Tears, Roll" is being sold online and in stores around the Los Angeles area.
My take? A cute and fairly harmless way for USC fans to rib the Bama fan base.
But the T-shirt that is making the rounds from Crimson Tide country in response to that shirt is nothing but crude. It reads, "Our O.J. Only Killed Clemson."
Creative? Yes. Witty? Certainly. Classy? Uh ... no. While there's no need to explain, I will anyway.
O.J. Simpson was a Heisman winner at Southern Cal in the late 60's, and you know the rest of THAT story, as in 1994 Simpson was charged with murdering his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman (Simpson was acquitted, later found guilty in a civil trial).
O.J. Howard scored two touchdowns last January to help the Crimson Tide beat Clemson in the national championship game.
If you go to BamaOnline.com you will see a post that reads, "Bama fans should buy this shirt for the game!" Uh, no they shouldn't.
The Alabama football program will be on full display via a national TV audience on the first weekend in September. Millions of viewers will be absorbing the excitement of a pair of traditional college football powers knocking heads.
If the Bama administration wants a giant headache, they will get one if for a mere five seconds, a TV camera pans live during the game to show a fan wearing that T-shirt.
So I'm just an old guy with no sense of humor, and you plan to wear that shirt to the game regardless? Take a step back and think what members of the Brown or Goldman family would think if they saw that shirt while watching the game.
Think of what Coach Bryant would think. Think of how Coach Stallings would react. And think of what Coach Saban would have to say (I have a feeling he may have something to say about this long before the game) if he saw that T-shirt in Dallas.
For decades, Crimson Tide coaches, players, administrators and fans have proudly talked up the tradition and class of their football program.
It's time for Alabama fans to continue that classy tradition. It's time for Bama fans to ditch the shirt.