Whether it's Michigan State students mocking Michigan's "We On" motto with "You Off" T-Shirts last month or a hilarious prank war between San Diego State and UNLV last year, rivalries have inspired some clever jabs between fan bases recently.
Once in a while, however, fans will cross the line from creative to cruel in their attempts to get under a rival's skin.
Wyoming students were definitely guilty of that Wednesday night when they chanted "alcoholic" in unison at Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy during the Rams' 78-56 win. The tasteless chant was a reference to Eustachy's struggle with alcoholism that went public when he lost his job at Iowa State in 2003 after pictures surfaced from a late-night party showing him drunkenly embracing college-aged women.
Eustachy has repeatedly said he has been sober since soon after his dismissal in 2003, an accomplishment he discussed in detail numerous times during his tenure at Southern Miss and again when he got hired at Colorado State last spring. In a story by my colleague Pat Forde last February, Eustachy described the humiliation of losing his job at Iowa State and being crucified in the media as "devastating."
"So embarrassing,” Eustachy added. "I’m listening to people talk about me like I’m Charlie Manson."
There's little doubt Wednesday night in Laramie isn't the first time opposing fans taunted Eustachy for his struggles with alcohol. For generations, fans have picked apart opposing players' and coaches' histories in hopes of finding a way to taunt them and make their home court advantage a little extra hostile.
Most of that is just fine – entertaining even. Where the taunts cease to be funny, though, is when they deal with something as serious as deaths in the family or addiction.
Alcoholism is a daily struggle for those who deal with it, one that divides families and wrecks careers. Winning a basketball game shouldn't matter enough to joke about that.
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