Alabama football and Tua Tagovailoa’s language problem is a joke or is it?

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 09: Tua Tagovailoa /

Alabama football is in dire need of another big game. Until the next one, the internet is a quagmire populated by trolls dispensing foolishness.

“Do not ask for whom the bell trolls, it trolls for thee.” John Donne’s passage that includes “for whom the bell tolls” has been changed to “trolls” so often the original source is unknown. Perhaps the best use of the “trolls” version came from the radio program, This American Life.

The show offered its perspective on the internet, social media and the contemporary fabric of social discourse in a January 2015 broadcast. The title of the broadcast was If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS.

This week Alabama football and more precisely Alabama football fans were trolled by a message on the 247 Sports website, Bama Online. Due to message board rules, we cannot insert the stream of messages that ensued. WE can include the original troll message via Twitter.

Ignore, laugh or disdain such foolishness?

We are inclined to ignore such foolishness whether the message originator is a purposeful troll or just trying to be funny. No one agreed with the original premise in pages of responses on Bama Online. A small minority alerted the rest to being trolled. Many chastised the source for ignorance.

That would be the end of our little story were it not from some Twitter comments. Jealousy, resentment, even hatred of Alabama football is not uncommon. Alabama football fans are aware of the acrimony and many of us often enjoy it.

Occasionally it goes too far. It becomes less about college football and more about reinforcing old stereotypes that southerners and more specifically Alabamans are stupid. While such claims may not be particularly offensive, they are tiresome.

Here are a couple of examples.

Both of these gentlemen are gainfully employed in the sports/entertainment industry. I wonder if they have read any of John Donne’s 17th-century writing or the 1939 masterpiece For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.

In case they have not, we offer a Donne inspired lesson for them “Diminish one and you diminish all of us.” And “us” includes Aaron and Alan. “Do not ask for whom the bell trolls, it trolls for thee.”

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In conclusion, we do wish to amplify the noise from any troll. It could be that any response is an overreaction. We confess to little patience for those that bandy about words carelessly.