I’m going to make this short and sweet — hatred is never cool and people everywhere are brothers and sisters.
Lafayette is a cool place. In a story co-written with sports editor Adam Brown, I poked fun at UL-Lafayette’s beards at the ballgame and the Cajun sausage smoke wafting down the baselines. I meant those as compliments, of course. I, myself, wear a full beard and some of my favorite food in the world is Cajun-influenced.
I think any place where the food is native and tasty and the people know how to party and root as hard as humanly possible for their team is a place worth living.
That’s why I came to Oxford.
We here at HottyToddy.com have fun kidding the Mississippi State fans. We kid about a focus on agriculture and an occasional lack of polish, but it’s meant in FUN — at least as far as we’re concerned. I’m sure there are Ole Miss fans — like anywhere else — who take things too far. People go over the line between a heated, but good-natured, rivalry and absolute inappropriate meanness.
You know where the line is as well as I do and those radio boys down state clearly crossed the line.
I had limited dealings with the good people of Lafayette, but those I did meet were kind and courteous. That includes the staff at the clean, beautiful Hilton Hotel and at the ballpark. I left my camera charger in my room and the wonderful staff there is returning it promptly via Federal Express.
I had hoped, while in Lafayette, to do a story about some Ole Miss grads who live there and operate a fine family restaurant. They kindly invited us to stop by, but were unfortunately closed when we had a spare minute.
Getting back to the Louisiana Lafayette fans, the beards were cute — especially on kids — and a testament to the love of their team. The heckling got pointed, but so did the back-and-forth from the Ole Miss fans in attendance. Even the Cajun accents are compelling, reflecting the rugged character of a culture that has flourished in a challenging environment.
So let’s all agree that we’re smart enough to recognize that fine line of acceptable critical discourse and refuse to go into places that are truly destructive of the human spirit. We at HottyToddy.com gladly accept that pledge with the caveat that we will honestly report the news because it is our responsibility. Sometimes the truth is hurtful, but that is what news organizations are required to do.
Sports, should be the realm of competition, fun, rivalries and yes, sportsmanship. We can’t control what other outlets do, but we’ll do our best to live up to these honored values.
While the HottyToddy.com team was enjoying our stay in Lafayette, Matthew Stevens, Mississippi State beat reporter for the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Miss., took to the airwaves to express his dislike of Lafayette, the school, and Cajuns in general. On the Bulldog Sports Radio show, he went as far as to say that Cajuns are “the missing link between apes and humans” and Lafayette is the “worst place in America”.
Stevens was ultimately fired from his position at the Commercial Dispatch and apologized to the people of Lafayette via his Twitter account.
HottyToddy.com sees this as an example of extreme un-professionalism and we want to take the opportunity to assure our readers, current and future, that we will not stoop to that level, even if we did have a bad experience (which we didn’t).
See the video below to hear the whole broadcast.
Andy Knef is the editor of HottyToddy.com. He would gladly return to Lafayette and only regrets that he didn’t get to taste enough of that great Cajun food.