Of QBs and Double Standards

“[University of Utah Quarterback Alex] Smith is a native of San Diego and knew little of the Utah-BYU rivalry. He knows now.

“I’m much more into it this year,” Smith says. “I really hate them. Playing in the game helped me understand. They are the most arrogant people. It’s the whole church and state thing. They’re the ‘good kids’. We’re the ‘bad kids.’ I didn’t feel it in my gut last year like I do now.”

November 19, 2004, Smith pays the price for knowledge, ESPN.com


58 comments for “Of QBs and Double Standards

  1. Alex Smith doesn’t represent the Church in the capacity that Max Hall does. He should be held to higher standards.

  2. Not the same thing. Didn’t happen after the win, didn’t involve the word “classless” (which I would argue has loads of undertone), didn’t involve a hot head QB who threw a headbutt at a Utah player to draw a personal foul in the last encounter.

  3. Adam – Max Hall technically doesn’t represent the Church in any official capacity other than “member.”

    Bubba – Didn’t involve the word “classless,” but does talk about hating BYU while broaching the subject of religion.

  4. Not trying to be an apologist, but I thought that the Alex Smith quote sounded like an intentional parody of the Max Hall quote.

  5. You can spell “classless” without “BYU fan” or “Utah fan”. Let them all rot in a minor bowl.

    Go Longhorns! Go Buckeyes! Go Horned Frogs!

  6. This feels like the middle of a conversation. Do we get any background? Or just feel clueless and move on.

  7. I don’t understand. Max Hall is LDS. Alex Smith is not. Alex Smith said “I really hate them… They are the most arrogant people.” Who is he talking about? Everyone associated with BYU? Max Hall said “I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, their fans. I hate everything… I think the whole university and their fans and the organization is classless. They threw beer on my family and stuff last year and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don’t respect them and they deserved to lose.”

    Are those the same? Which sounds more sane?

  8. Marc,

    BYU, for better or worse, is the face of the Church for thousands of people around the country. In fact, that’s often the greatest justification for keeping the BYU football program around; it’s good advertising for the Church. I would say that a person in Max Hall’s position is more than just a “member.”

    Also, the whole “spilling beer and spitting on” opposing fans appears to be a running thing with people Max Hall doesn’t like. He’s told this story before, in a completely different context.

  9. Max Hall apologized for his remarks. When is Alex Smith going to do the same? When will the Ute fans who dumped beer on Hall’s family, apologize? I’m not holding my breath.

  10. Scott,

    There are many reasons to doubt Hall’s story, particularly the fact that Rice Eccles Stadium is a dry venue. And what kind of Utah fans would they be if, after having sneaking in a few cold ones, wasted it on BYU fans?

  11. It’s true, we should hold Max Hall to a higher standard. As LDS members we all should be holding ourselves to a higher standard. We are supposed to be examples of Christ, correct? But, Max Hall is 24 years old, immature, and human. Just because he made a mistake shouldn’t change what BYU (or the church) stands for.

    And do two wrongs make a right? Just because Alex Smith made a rude comment doesn’t make Max Hall’s comment any less rude.

    I guess I don’t see the big deal. Wouldn’t it be better to just let the whole thing blow over? Ignore the idiocy? But I don’t live in Utah so I’m pretty far removed from the whole thing.

  12. Of course it’s a double standard — and those who want to hold Max to a different standard than Smith admit as much. The real problem is the MWC that sanctioned Max but not Smith — that is an impermissible double standard. On the other hand, it is the MWC — the same conference that doesn’t know what television coverage would look like if it got bit in the face by it. On the other hand, his name is Max . . . what did you expect?

  13. I love the defense gaining currency among Ute fans that because beer isn’t allowed in RES, that somehow invalidates Hall’s suggestion that his family was harassed last year at RES. Seems to me that if they poured Coke, Sprite, or water on his family and not beer, it was still … well, you know, classless.

  14. Who is surprised? Max went to Mountain View (AZ).

    Small high school rivalries aside, it is unfair for BYU and the Church to be judged by Hall’s actions (hasty generalization), but that doesn’t mean people won’t do it. On the other hand, as members of the church and/or BYU alumni, we all have the personal responsibility to be good examples to those who observe our actions. Hall is not exempt from that because of his status.

    We all make mistakes, and I can’t imagine completely controlling my emotions in a game where I’m supposed to beat the other team into submission. That said, a lot of other players never loose control (as far as I can tell). One blogger pointed out that John Beck and Eric Weddle were classy guys, but nobody remembers BYU or Utah for their actions.

    Blogger’s post (see # 8): DJ Blog

  15. Is it possible that some drunken tailgaters were shaking their cans of beer and then opening them to watch with glee as the beverage sprayed everywhere (as tailgaters are wont to do) and members of Hall’s family walked by and were sprayed inadvertently? And then maybe the Halls understandably felt that this was obnoxious behavior, but being clean, innocent Mormons, unaccustomed to the non-malicious-however-idiotic antics of beer-drinking football fans, wrongly concluded that they were targeted purposely for the beer spray. And then maybe they told the story in exaggerated terms (as humans are wont to do) and described having beer “poured” on them, conjuring images like unto those in unwatchably stupid “comedies” where someone pours a drink on someone else’s head (as if anyone in real life does that). I think this is the most plausible scenario.

  16. 13 — As a Mormon, I hereby apologize to everybody I’ve sprayed beer on. I also apologize to everyone I’ve killed in a drive-by shooting, or with anthrax. All three groups are the same size. HTH.

  17. I would care if …

    (1) I was a media hack who makes a living churning bland stuff like this into “controversies” (e.g. days and days of content).

    (2) I was a Ute who wanted to shift attention away from the loss. The third in four years. (What game? What scoreboard? The quarterback of our rival football squadron feels strong negative emotions towards my team and its loyal partisans! This press conference aggression will not stand!)

    (3) I was Max Hall, and my family had actually been threatened, abused, and etc. by a bunch of losers in red hoodies.

    (4) I was Lenny Gomes (of “someday they will be pumping my gas” fame) or Morgan Scalley (of “I hate those pricks” fame) and the stupid stuff I said years ago in college was going to get rehashed by media hacks attempting to add a patina of respectability to their churning (see No. 1) by placing the latest trash talk in historical context.

    (5) I saw BYU and Utah as proxies for groups of people in the real world. And I actually hated one group or the other. And I had convinced myself that what happens on the field and in the stands and in dreadful forums like fan message boards and sports talk radio really proves something important about the status of my group.

  18. As a fan of a team that matters (Texas), I’d just like to say that “someday they will be pumping my gas” is quite funny and the rest of this is boring.

  19. Let’s not forget that the real double standards elephant in the room is the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.


  20. Major props to the BCS-cartel-team fans for making something positive of their condescension in this thread. Mutual hatred of the BCS may be the best chance for Cougars and Utes to transcend all the irrational tribalism.

    P.S.: Florida, Alabama, and Texas are truly fortunate that their corrupt system will keep the best team in college football this year (TCU) out of the national championship game.

  21. Smith’s line was punctuated wrong. It should have been: “It’s the whole ‘church and state’ thing.”

    Fix that, and the only thing he hated, the only thing he said was arrogant, was the BYU football team. And I think everybody, even BYU students and alumni (like me), can get behind that. We can (and probably should) hate the BYU football team, and of course they’re arrogant–they were that way in high school and they’re even worse now that they think they’re important big time college football players.

  22. This is why stake men’s church basketball is so often banned.

    People just get out of control when it comes to sports.

  23. I’m not a Ute for or a Cougar fan, but as a member of the Church I was embarrased by Max Hall’s comments. He is a sore loser and his apology was laughable. I generally cheer for any Mountain West Conference team that is doing well. However, I will no longer cheer for BYU. The coach and/or the administration should have come out and, at minumum, reprimanded Hall for his emotional tirade.

    Go TCU!!!

  24. I’m not from Utah, but I was in Provo for the first time since I was in the MTC over Thanksgiving weekend. I got a rather stupid look from someone at the bookstore when I asked why all the statues on campus were wrapped in plastic.

    I was happy to escape the “Apple Cup” of Washington state and all the pointless rivalries between UW and WSU only to find myself amidst a “Holy War”.


  25. I love how Ute fans are more concerned with discrediting Max Hall’s account of ill treatment than they are with handling the real issue here. You absolutely hate BYU’s “arrogance” of holding ourselves to a higher standard until that higher standard gives you cannon fodder to use. Alex Smith’s comments were just a bigoted, just as generalized and just as stupid but somehow because he’s not LDS and doesn’t go to BYU it’s justified!? Isn’t that simply the reverse of double standard BYU holds itself to which Smith called arrogant?

  26. (Why oh why oh why do BYU fans such as Ryan (34) fail to understand that 9/10 of the foul-crying from everyone over Hall’s comments is feigned outrage, designed only to piss the Zoobies off because it’s so flipping funny?)

  27. When You play for BYU, you represent not only the school, but also the LDS Church. It’s a sentiment that LaVell Edwards shared with LDS recruits, and Bronco Mendenhall shares with every recruit.

  28. Man, I’m feeling verbose this week.


    It’s football. And I love BYU football and have since Gary Sheide was the quarterback. And, yea, Max’s rant was dumb. But it’s football. Football is pretty dumb all by itself.

    Yes, there are “classless” BYU players and fans. But in going to BYU vs. Utah games for years the worst I’ve *personally* seen from BYU fans is yelling for a Ute fan to sit down and shut up. And when that happens, often as not, you’ll see OTHER BYU fans turn on the screamer and tell THEM to sit down and shut up. (Which is the same thing you’re seeing now with the Max Hall pile-on. Hello?)

    Maybe I just get really lucky and always sit in the “classy” seats or something. And maybe when I sat in a deli in Orem with mostly BYU fans and a couple of tables of Ute fans and the BYU fans only smiled and told the red tables, “Good luck,” it was just coincidence. And maybe on the bus ride to the stadium the Ute fans (including the one sitting next to me — who was on the phone telling his daughter how to sneak a bunch of non-students into the stadium at student prices by using one of his daughter’s “many” IDs (but it’s OK because Utes, as a group, don’t profess any standards!!!) — were treated with actual kindness, it was a fluke. But it holds true for nearly four decades of flukes and football oddities and anecdotal evidence that BYU fans don’t totally, completely stink on ice every second of every day.

    In full disclosure, I have told Ute fans I was sorry they were cheering for the wrong team. So, I’ve played my part in the war. Oh, and I created this hateful set of BYU fanwear.

    On the other hand, I regularly see crapola from Ute fans. Walking into the stadium (and I only had to walk a half block from the bus stop), I passed one group taunting and throwing religious epithets, another just off the sidewalk near the stadium steps smoking and intentionally blowing smoke on people in blue, and multiple groups dressed in red who were cursing and dropping f-bombs as loud as the could as all the blue folks and kids passed. And more than one who referenced how the “f-ing mormons were going to _________” (fill in the blank with things about praying, fasting, underwear, polygamy, etc.). But I’m sure I was just unlucky.

    IMO we’re not talking about a RELIGIOUS issue, but a cultural one. And I get really sick of the cultural double standard. If you profess religion, then you are blasted when you do something dumb. But if you do NOT profess a standard, then you are free simply to live by no standards at all without repercussion. Because our popular CULTURE has tended toward the amoral. The real attack isn’t about behavior at all, it’s about behavior from someone who claims that behavioral standards are important.

    Look above. As I write this, there isn’t ONE outright condemnation of Smith. But there are MORE attacks on Hall and a few behavioral passes for Smith. Weird.

    When I start seeing people screaming bloody murder about Utes cursing at little kids, making vulgar comments about players wives and mothers, and hurling religious insults — and Ute players saying they hate BYU — then I’ll get my panties (oooo, if I were Ute that would be a good opportunity for a religious jab!) in a wad over Max saying he hates everything Ute-related — right after the game in which he’s expected to pound the Utes into the turf.

    Until then, I’ll just console my dad — whose alma mater lost last week while he sings I am a Utah Man for me again.

  29. Well, for the record, I felt pretty much the same as Alex Smith does about BYU when I was in high school and college. I still do sometimes. Let’s face it, BYU folks kind of are arrogant and tend to portray themselves as the righeous ones.

  30. Shame on anyone who tells BYU players that they represent the Church in any way beyond their membership. Someone needs to put the kibosh on that. I am a member of the Church and I refuse to be represented by any football player.

    And for the record, the Alex Smith quote was not inappropriate in any way. What Max Hall said was deeply prejudicial and disturbing.

  31. A BYU student said something dumb that makes BYU students like me look bad. It’s regretable and mildly amusing, but beyond that, I don’t really care.

  32. I too feel deeply offended by Max Hall’s passionate post-game honesty. No Mormon should ever be that honest about their feelings. Such bluntness obviously humiliates all Mormons. If we don’t put a clamp on such outbursts the rest of the world will start realizing we Mormons have actual emotions and passions like normal humans!

    I have gone as far as setting up a free grief counseling hotline for traumatized Ute fans and other offended parties. Just call: 1-800-WAA-AAAA

  33. Max Hall has done a tremendous service to all parents and coaches. We now have another textbook example of how to be a poor winner that we can utilize in our parenting / coaching. Unfortunately, Hall didn’t dish out any headbutts this year (always classy!), but there was that shove in the back he gave to Stevenson Sylvester after the game.

  34. I’m glad Hall apologized. I’m also glad BYU won. I’m glad I spent the 1999 game at Rice-Eccles with a bunch of cheerful, good-spirited, interesting Ute fans and not with the yahoos across the way who were cross-dressing, throwing things, and yelling about Joseph Smith, much to the dismay of everyone else in the area (note to the yahoos: your fellow fans disliked you more than anyone else, practically). I’m not glad for the yahoos I’ve met who were Y fans. I wish the Y and the U had some way of revoking people’s fan status.

  35. There is no double standard. The standard that Max Hall failed is set by BYU. Here is BYU Football’s mission statement:

    “To be the flag bearer of Brigham Young University through football excellence, embracing truth, tradition, virtue and honor as a beacon to the world.”

    Coach Mendenhall often compares the football team to Helaman’s 2000 stripling warriors. Here is an example:


    Such noble rhetoric rings hollow and smells of hypocrisy when you try to justify Hall’s statement by comparing it to statement by a player at another university.

  36. Seldom,

    In the lost 116 pages, it detailed how Helaman’s warriors were spurred on to victory after learning that their mothers had been doused by malted beverages and then collectively stewed over the injustice for a year.

  37. Seldom,

    The stripling warrior actually killed their opponents. Max Hall and the Cougs just beat the Utes in a game (again). Isn’t that a step up?

    Also, who’s to say Max wasn’t right in line with the BYU football mission statement?

    football excellence: Beating Utah 3 out of 4 tries ain’t bad
    embracing truth… virtue and honor: What is more truthful, honorable and virtuous than confessing your true and honest feelings?? (grin)
    tradition: If nothing else Max was upholding a long standing tradition by sticking it to the Utes.

  38. #49 Geoff J

    football excellence: Beating Utah 3 out of 4 tries ain’t bad

    Not bad for recent success. But, in the interest of full disclosure, Utah leads the series 53–34–4.

    Granted, 4 years ago it was 52-31-4, so the Why is slowly gaining.

  39. I’ve never attended a BYU-UofU game, but I love commenter Morgan Lee’s theory about the BYU quarterback’s family might have gotten accidentally sprayed by beer! Still, I can imagine some scene where rabidly anti-Mormons might have mixed in their prejudices with their football fanship of the U’s rivaly with the Y — my agreeing with Alison’s observation of our secular culture’s tendency to sneer at “hypocricy,” turning a blind eye to any double standards that often are built into doing so.

    And, it seems that there are some Utahns who reeeeeally hate Mormons — such “Nons” as these maybe feeling themselves a put-upon minority? Regardless of its sociology, some circumstances where this hatred finds experssion can be pretty darn unseemly!

    {WARNING: Ignore the thread-jack that is the rest of this comment…if you can’t handle a tale that comes to its pertinent point from waaay far afield!}

    * * *

    Once upon a time, back when I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a couple of years, I signed up to be a movie extra and the filming was to take place in the Marriott Center. I was dressed as a generic FBI agent in a suit.

    I stayed overnight at a quaint hotel downtown in tiny Provo and waited at the busstop for a bus over to the University for the shoot.
    The bus line would eventually end up in Salt Lake City. The bus stopped. I asked how much to pay for a trip over to the Marriott Center. The bus driver angrily said the bus went to Salt Lake City and I couldn’t get on if I was going anywhere in Provo. I had often boarded busses in Salt Lake City so I knew his reasoning was preposterous. There were few busses and I would miss my appointment with the film production if I didn’t take this bus. So I said, “No problem. Salt Lake City then!” and then got on the bus, paying the full fare.

    When the bus stopped for a passenger near the Marriott Center, I got off the bus.

    As I exited the bus, its driver angrily sneered at me for having “lied” about my destination’s having been Salt Lake City, saying things that revealed that the bus driver (1) had assumed from my suit and my destination on the campus that I was LDS (2) hated Mormons, and (3) thought I was a hypocrite because I was a liar for having artfully said that I was headed to Salt Lake City. He went on and on.

    I ignored him — but, ironically, I happended to be an inactive Mormon who had been on my way to a secular movie’s filming location that day which just happened to be on the BYU campus. (Heck, I didn’t own a suit. The one I was wearing came from the film’s wardrobe.)

    CAN YOU imagine an event full of fans who exhibited the (ironically!) “self-righteous” disgust of this bus driver?

  40. I think the conversation here has actually developed into something more fun than the original post.

    About this latest drama: Max said something dumb (but from the heart). BYU loyals fly to his aid and try to justify his words by pointing out every stupid thing Utes have ever done or considered doing to them (individually and collectively) since the schools were founded. This includes such general sins as the purchase and sale of caffeinated beverages on the Ute campus and permission to stay out on a date past 11 PM. After all, it is the “Lord’s school” so Max must have been using his spot in the public light to exemplify Christ-like principles and call sinners to repentance. His is a righteous hatred.

    Ute loyals run to the opposite extreme and act as if Max just provided public proof of the general BYU self-righteousness and arrogance they think exists. After all, the only reason to attend BYU must be so you can adhere to an absurdly strict and ambiguous honor code and drink only decaffeinated bevs so you can point your finger toward Salt Lake City and self-righteously proclaim “neener, neener”. The Utes are just trying to bring those self-adoring Cougars back to reality by shoving every mistake they make down their gullets like so much lime Jell-O packed with hunks of soggy fruit.

    It’s great that the Daily Herald and SL Tribune are such upstanding publications, ensuring these kinds of “scandal” fill their painfully mindless op-ed pages for weeks on end trying to deconstruct words spoken by a 20-something athlete blinded by camera flashes. Kind of like Alex in the original post up above. Maybe Utes and Cougars aren’t so different after all.

  41. Hey Texas fans–that would be you queuno #6 and Zat #26–BYU is 2-0 against the Longhorns (I may be confused, but I think that means Texas is 0-2 against the Cougars).

    As for Max? He came, he saw, he conquered, he stuck an entire leg in his mouth, and he apologized (and he was reprimanded).

  42. More love for you Texas fans: I appreciate your team looking absolutely horrible tonight. And just barely surviving a three-loss team that is ranked well below BYU. Texas does not deserve to play for the national championship.

    I don’t like the BCS. In fact, I hate it. I hate everything about it. I think the whole BCS system (the conferences and bowl games and television networks that benefit from it) are classless.

  43. Hehe. Nice S.P. Bailey.

    With you I also don’t like the BCS. In fact, I hate it. I hate everything about it. I think the whole BCS system including the conferences and bowl games and television networks that benefit from it are classless.

    As it turns out the BCS hoses its own too. Cincinnati (from a BCS conference) is completing a great undefeated season and they are as locked out of the title game as TCU and BSU.

  44. Last I checked having beer on you wasn’t breaking the word of wisdom. Seriously folks it’s an emotional rivalry. This is not unlike the emotions expressed between other rivals. Max Hall is young and let his emotions get the best of him. Alex Smith did an amazing job for the Utes in his day. At the end of the day it’s a freaking game!!!! Let’s not all take each other so seriously.

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