In legal justice news, infamous Alabama fan Harvey Updyke waived his preliminary hearing today in Lee County District Court on felony charges for allegedly poisoning a pair of landmark oak trees on Auburn's campus after the Crimson Tide blew a 24-0 lead in an eventual 28-27 Auburn win last November. Updyke appeared "very remorseful," and the judge agreed to amend his bond to allow him to travel to Louisiana to live with relatives. Afterwards, he chatted with reporters outside the courtroom (right, looking on with his lawyer, Glennon Threatt) about his earliest experience with Alabama football and naming his children "Crimson Tyde" and "Bear."
In illegal, vigilante news, Updyke was reportedly attacked a few minutes after the hearing at a nearby gas station*, according to Threatt, who called Birmingham-based radio host/oracle Paul Finebaum during Finebaum's daily show to report that Updyke was being treated for "facial bruises and a split on his brow" at a local emergency room and released.
"Somewhere right outside of Opelika, Harvey stopped at a gas station to get a drink and some gas and when he got out of his car, it went black." Threatt said. "He woke up on the ground. He'd been hit in the head with something. So he wandered into the gas station, in pain, and they directed him to a local emergency room. He responded to that emergency room." Updyke didn't require stitches, according to Threatt, but may have "a slight concussion." (Listen to Threatt's call here.) He also claimed that the alleged attacker called a Montgomery television station to report (falsely) that Updyke had been stabbed.
An Opelika police captain told the Opelika Daily News that Updyke's injuries were "minor" and could result in misdemeanor charges following an investigation, but added that Updyke couldn't identify or describe the assailant and the gas station didn't have video surveillance in the parking lot: "[Updyke] has not really been too cooperative at this point."
The fact that Threatt actually had to say, on the air, "I had nothing to do with my client getting attacked at a gas station" should raise your cynicism meter to the appropriate level re: the veracity of his and/or his client's account. On the other hand, the Updyke Affair — a story that has served as the distilled essence of a century of symbolic malice between instate rivals from the second it broke back in February — has more than proven itself as precisely the kind of soapy, real-life theater in which anything seems possible.
Is it conceivable that Harvey Updyke was attacked by an outraged Auburn fan seeking vigilante justice? So conceivable that someone probably should have seen it coming. Is it conceivable that he was attacked by an enraged Alabama fan, for casting a black mark across all of Tide-dom? Or hoping to somehow pin it on an enraged Auburn fan to "settle the score" in terms of public embarrassment? I just conceived it. Is it conceivable that the "attack" was somehow staged to cast Updyke, universally vilified as he was after his arrest, as a sympathetic figure? Well, see above. In Crazy Town, every dot connects.
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*The gas station? A Tiger Express, naturally. This is not a joke.
Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.