There is a practice throughout history in which everything about someone is erased from records. The goal is to erase even the memory of that person. To make them as if they never existed. The term we've given the ancient Roman version of this is referred to as damnatio memoriae. Condemnation of memory. I think it's time for us to put this back into practice.
It's impossible in today's world to completely erase the memory of someone, of course. It wasn't really even possible in the ancient world since we still know the names of many who were supposed to have all record or memory of them erased.
So why do I bring this up? What does this have to do with anything?
Something happened a few years back to Auburn. Something that caused great pain, anguish, and sorrow. Something done by someone whose name I am not even going to mention. It's time we forget him.
He's back in the spotlight on ESPN.com and other places due to agreeing to be involved in a charity event. As always, Phillip Marshall provides an excellent viewpoint on the subject. He urges Auburn fans to show this person that he doesn't matter. I agree. The charity involved is a great cause. It's called Roses From Linda and is dedicated to helping to pay for travel for those who can't afford to do so to see sick or dying relatives. I would never want to take away from a great cause and I'm not in any way going to urge Auburn people to not donate to that cause. Far from it.
UPDATED: Sanity has prevailed and he is not going to be involved in this charity event, now.
What I do wish is that no Auburn fan would show up to any event with this individual involved. It's time for him to go away as far as Auburn fans are concerned. Do not give him the attention he seeks. He is forbidden from speaking to the media, but in the ESPN article referenced above, his wife was speaking for him. She referenced that he's not worried about Auburn fans may do to him because "They'll have security there." I agree with Phillip Marshall that the best response by Auburn fans would be to ignore him completely. Donate to the cause if you feel it's one you want to support. But do not give this many any of the continuing attention that he obviously seeks.
I would love it if Alabama fans felt the same way and did the same thing. What that man did is a stain on one of college football's best rivalries. It's used to show how crazy people in the south are about football. Look no further than how much time ESPN spent on the subject and this individual in particular during the Roll Tide/War Eagle special for proof of this. It has turned what makes the Iron Bowl such a "rivalry" into the insanity of the fans rather than the game on the field. I would love it if Alabama fans joined us in pushing this man from the memory of the rivalry. Let's get back to what does make it such a fun rivalry: two great football teams in a state where people love the game of college football so much.
We can't affect how they react towards him, though. For Auburn fans, it's time we put damnatio memoriae into practice. Forget him. Move on. Celebrate the new traditions that grow out of tragedy, but do not give the individual who caused that tragedy any more attention. Do not speak his name. Do not talk about him. Do not go to any event where he may be present. He wants nothing more than to see Auburn fans drag themselves down to his level. Media will be all over this charity event in hopes of getting great pictures of Auburn fans trying to dunk him or throw pies at him. Let him be forgotten. The media wants to perpetuate his impact on us all. How much better would the story be if no Auburn fans showed up? If, instead of laughing - possibly taunting - Auburn fans "getting revenge" on him, the story the media gets is that Auburn fans care so little about him that we didn't even care to take advantage of this "opportunity?"
I'm probably asking way too much. Maybe this all comes from my intense dislike for smack talk. I'd just rather stop giving this man any attention at all. Let him fade away into obscurity and be forgotten while we continue celebrating all of the things that make Auburn great. Let the rebirth and reopening of Toomer's Corner this week be celebrated as ensuring tradition always lives on even when it has to be changed or altered in some forms due to extenuating circumstances.
It's great to be an Auburn Tiger. It always has been. It always will be. War Eagle, everyone.