“Walk-On” out in stores

Walk-On, the new book from former Auburn star Thom Gossom, was finally released last Tuesday — perhaps you remember hearing about it in my recent novel.

You can order it directly from Borders or get a personalized copy at www.walkongossom.com. But you might actually catch him at J&M this Saturday, signing books before we embarrass LSU.

There have been some other write ups and last week, Paul Finebaum took a break from his busy career in erotica to have Thom on his radio show. Paul, of course, took the opportunity to insinuate that Auburn just really hates black people, that it always has hated black people, that it will forever continue to hate and loathe and belittle black people. Keep them down. Bench them. Second-string them.

He refers to Auburn as “… a school that’s always had a rap with the racial issue…”and as having “a reputation as a bad place for black players over the years.” He wants to know if “that’s been rectified” and also “why every time there’s a black quarterback down there it’s an instant controversy, one of those may be going on right now…”

Keep in mind this was while discussing a book written about, among other things, Auburn’s leading role in integrating college football in the state of Alabama.

Here’s the math:

Kodi Burns + second string = Tommy Tuberville, racist.

Oh, also keep in mind that Kodi Burns is not only the current fan favorite for the starting job but the latest in a long string of black “fan favorite” quarterbacks going back to the early 80s. Pat Washington, Reggie Slack, Dameyune Craig, Jason Campbell and now Kodi — Campbell, Craig, and Slack are arguably the three most popular quarterbacks in recent Auburn history.

(To his eternal credit, Thom defended Auburn, saying no, no, you know, it was hard everywhere, Paul.)

But it was Paul’s peculiar contrast of Thom’s experience as the second black football player at Auburn, (which began six years after Auburn integrated) to what must be his understanding of the Bama experience… in particular, to the famous spectacle surrounding the initial integration of the University of Alabama… to the Hug in the Schoolhouse Door, to all the funshine and rainbows filling Tuscaloosa in the early 60s… that really caught my attention:

“This is not a pretty story,” Finebaum says of Walk-On. “This is not, ‘hey, I walked in the door with the national guard and everyone embraced me…‘”

No football player in the state of Alabama, red or yellow, black or white, ever ‘walked in the door’ flanked by the national guard (any national guard action, and it was only at Alabama, would have been, oh, seven years prior). If they had, it wouldn’t have had anything to do with protecting them from fanmail or PDA.

So what the hell is he talking about? Whatever it is, taste it — it’s grain fed revisionism, of the sort only Bama fans can churn, and oh so similar to a certain strain — a fascinating phenomenon of Bryantism — that kept popping up during my research for Walk-On … but more on that later.

Just know, for now, that if you’ve ever felt paranoid for thinking that Paul would rip out a kidney and slap it on the table for the University of Alabama.. don’t.

Because when Finebaum writes:

For long-time chroniclers of college football, it has been agonizing to witness the devestation of the Alabama dynasty – once among the proudest in the lore of the sport.

… he is first and foremost writing about himself. And he would do anything in the world to end that agony… fantasize about institutional racism at Auburn, bend over for Dr. Saban… anything to maybe, just maybe, help, one day, take the edge off…



Filed under General

2 responses to ““Walk-On” out in stores

  1. I really hate the race argument that people keep trying to bring up… let’s play the best player, and to me, right now, that is Kodi Burns, but we really haven’t seen him enough to know yet. I will be down at ESPN gameday with my camera equip through the end of the day, hope it comes out to be a “W”.

  2. Joe Blow


    What’s that saying? “A team’s most popular player is the backup quarterback.”

    I don’t think Tuberville and/or Franklin would risk defeat by playing or not playing someone who was not the best. That said, I do think Burns is a better athlete and has more potential. However, he has not had a better showing on the practice field. Give it time, and Kodi’s athleticism and potential could possibly pass Todd’s talent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s