Last year, Auburn fans taped a No. 2 Cam Newton jersey on Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's statue and seeded the grass near Bryant-Denny Stadium with the 28-27 score.
This year, with a very strong 10-1 Alabama team facing a somewhat weakened 7-4 Auburn team, Tide fans are seeking revenge. The internet publicity of fan intent has led to threats of violence and mayhem by Auburn fans, as seen in the message board posts below (click the image for the full resolution version).
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The Alabama fans, led by the Tuscaloosa Chapter of the dreaded Red Elephant Club, anticipated the reaction beforehand and have taken legal steps to prevent any intervention in their planned, peaceful demonstration. They have obtained a permit application for use of the public space and intend to assert their rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
"We absolutely intend to exercise our rights as citizens of the United States," said lead organizer Cal Gregory. "The intersection of College and University is public space. We have a right under the US Constitution to peaceably assemble and we have the right of free expression. We don't feel that public officials--be they University or local law enforcement--have the right or the authority to prevent our demonstration. We are not violent and we don't intend to start any trouble. We just want to express our joy and satisfaction after the game, should our team be victorious."
"Mr. Gregory is correct," said a Birmingham civil rights lawyer who has been retained by the Red Elephants in the event city or university officials attempt to deny the permit. "Their actions may come off as obnoxious to some and are likely to offend some people. But these people still absolutely have the right to peaceably assemble and celebrate."
IBCR has obtained a copy of the permit application and has the exclusive:
Saturday night in Auburn should be interesting.