“I Hate Auburn” t-shirts are nothing new. And apparently Nick Saban should know that.
The shirts have around since at least 1986*, according to the Cullman County Auburn Haters website IHateAuburn.com, which offers them for sale… and as gifts:
“We have personally given ‘I HATE AUBURN’ shirts to Gene Stallings, Mike Dubose, Franchoni, Mike Shula, and Paul Finebaum. I am not sure how, but we have been told that a few of the Bama players had our shirts under their pads during the 1996 Iron Bowl.”
The Cullman County Auburn Haters also claimed on a recent-ish episode of the Paul Finebaum Show to have given an “I Hate Auburn” t-shirt to Nick Saban—you can find a wav file of the call on their site—who famously screamed “Don’t you know how much I [bleeping] hate these guys” at his players for not routing Auburn enough in 2008, something many media members seem to have forgotten.
Eric “I Hate Auburn Shirt” Blackerby, however, has not.
“As far as having class, I would think that my shirt pales in comparison to some of the things he was overheard yelling at his players during the Iron Bowl in 2008,” Blackerby wrote in his account of the media storm centered around the “I Hate Auburn” shirt he wore to the sensitive setting of SEC Media Days—the first of the Post-Toomer’s, Post-Tornado Angle era; last year it wouldn’t have warranted a single tweet—which Nick Saban publicly criticized. “Let’s just say he didn’t have any glowing praise of Auburn that day.”
Here’s a fun story about Blackerby and his famous shirt; he first wore it at Columbiana’s annual Liberty Day Celebration.
* 1986 was a banner year in the Auburn-Alabama “insult merchandise” market. The IHateAuburn.com origin myth (1986 AD) of the “I Hate Auburn” shirt is fantastic: “I was driving down I-65 to the Iron Bowl in Birmingham; on the back of my window were the words “Honk if you HATE auburn”. A old lady, that had to be in her 70’s, pulled up beside my truck and asked me to pull over, when I did, she thru the shirt in the window and kept driving.”
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