Sunday, November 29, 2009

BYU Quarterback Max Hall Apologizes For Postgame Rant Against The University Of Utah And Its Fans; Publicly Reprimanded By MWC

Less than 24 hours after verbally unloading on the University of Utah and its fans during a postgame interview when passions were still stoked, BYU quarterback Max Hall quickly regained his senses and issued an apology for those remarks.

Immediately after Saturday's game between BYU and Utah, won by the Cougars in overtime 26-23, the media caught up to Hall right after the game and sought reaction. Still fired up with adrenalin, Hall remembered how his family members were ill-treated by some Ute fans in Salt Lake during the 2008 game, won by Utah 48-24, and he unloaded as follows:

"I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them — I hate everything about them. I hate their program. I hate their fans. I hate everything. So, it feel good to send those guys home. They didn't deserve it. It was our time, and it was our time to win. We deserved it. We played as hard as we could tonight, and it felt really good to send them home and to get them out of here, so it is a game I'll always remember...Do you really want me to go into it? I think the whole university and their fans and organization is classless. They threw beer on my family and stuff last year [2008] and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don't respect them, and they deserve to lose."


His tirade triggered hundreds of comments on local media discussion boards, most notably to this KSL story, with 1,439 comments as of this post. The majority condemned Hall, including many BYU fans. Within hours, many Utes fans launched several Facebook pages and groups, and thousands signed on and joined. By Sunday evening, there were two Facebook pages; one called "Max Hall hates me and thinks I'm classless," and another called "Max Hall is classless". Each had about 2,500 fans.

Chastened by public sentiment and personal regret, Max Hall wasted little time in manning up and making things right on Sunday. He issued the following apology:

"I want to take the opportunity to clarify and apologize for a few of my remarks after the game yesterday.

Last year at RES my family was spit on, had beer dumped on them, and were physically assaulted on several occasions. They had to endure extremely vile comments personally attacking my wife, my mother, other family members, and our religion. They had to be escorted to their car by local police.

As a result of what happened to my family last year this rivalry became personal, and in the heat of the moment yesterday I made comments toward the entire university that were really directed specifically at those fans in RES. It was not intended to be directed at the entire organization and all of their fans and I apologize that it came out that way.

I have the upmost respect for Kyle Whittingham, his coaching staff, and the Utah football players. I apologize to them and other members of the university for my comments.

I'm also sorry if my comments took anything away from my teammates and coaches and our victory Saturday.

The BYU-Utah game is a great rivalry, but no one should be treated the way my family was last year. I'm hoping that BYU and Utah fans can take steps to prevent future incidents at the game."

-- BYU Quarterback Max Hall


Media stories from the Deseret News, the Daily Utah Chronicle, and KSL Channel 5, whose video is embedded below:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com



Many people are inclined to accept his apology, which gets straight to the point without being excessively maudlin, at face value. His contention about misbehaving Utah fans has been validated by numerous people posting comments to the story. Nevertheless, it is possible that Hall might receive a public reprimand from the Mountain West Conference for the comments. Javan Hedlund, Associate Commissioner for Communications for the MWC, said Sunday that the conference is aware of the comments made in the postgame news conference and has initiated the process to determine whether the senior violated the MWC's sportsmanship policy. A decision is expected no later than Tuesday. His availability to play in BYU's upcoming bowl game is not at risk. Update November 30th: The MWC issued a public reprimand of Max Hall, but no further sanctions were prescribed.

University of Utah officials declined to respond to Hall's original tirade. As for the Utes, who finished with a 9-3 record, they fell to number 25, but they're still bowl-bound, heading for either the Las Vegas Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, most likely against a yet-to-be-named Pac 10 opponent.

Meanwhile, BYU, who improved to 10-2, rose to number 14 in the BCS standings and number 16 in the AP poll. They are expecting an invitation from either the Las Vegas Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl.

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