Some Auburn fans say it and seem to actually mean it — that they want Bama to win if it helps Auburn. Or even that they always cheer for them except against Auburn (which just seems sick). On the opposite end are Auburn fans who look you straight in the eye and say that if Bama played Russia, they would pull for Russia.
I’d always heard that growing up. You’d hear it and laugh and think “yeah, ha, maybe… ” and then wonder how you’d ever be able to watch “Rocky 4” or play that USA vs. USSR hockey game in the arcade again if something like that ever actually happened, and you did find yourself pulling for the Reds over the Crimsons. And you thank God that it never happened.
Except the time it did.
Yes, the ultimate Auburn Scruples card was actually dealt to Tiger fans in the 1970s, back when legendary radio announcer Gary “It’s Blocked! It’s Blocked!” Sanders, who later became the voice of UAB Blazers basketball, was still calling games for Auburn.
When I interviewed Sanders several years back, he told me about it.
“I always thought that was just a joke,” I said.
Nope. Real life. 1977.
“In 1970-something they opened that coliseum downtown (in Birmingham) and there was a basketball doubleheader: Auburn vs. Czechoslovakia and Alabama vs. Russia,” Sanders said. “This is the height of the Cold War, and I said, ‘well, tonight I can pull for Alabama, they’re playing the Russians.’ And a rebound comes off—they’ve got a 7″2 guy (Vladimir Tkachenko), the Russians do. He reaches up and is just going to casually take the rebound. Well, Reginald King, one of the best Alabama players ever in my mind, takes that ball away from him and stuffs it in. And I’m sitting there at the table and I said “G*d****t, Tkachenko—hold on to the rebound!” And I said, ‘oh my God, I’m pulling for the Russians!’”
Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer and Sickle, baby.
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