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BYU football: QB Hall's apology says rant overboard

Published November 29, 2009 10:10 pm

Senior says his tirade was meant for worst fans.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A day after he said he hates everything about the University of Utah and called the school's fans and football program "classless," BYU quarterback Max Hall apologized on Sunday for some -- but not all -- of the remarks he made after the Cougars' 26-23 overtime win.

In a statement written by Hall and distributed through BYU's sports information department, Hall said he made the remarks because of how members of his family were treated at Rice-Eccles Stadium in last year's BYU-Utah game.

"I made comments toward the entire University [of Utah] that were really directed specifically at those fans in [Rice-Eccles Stadium]. It was not intended to be directed at the entire organization and all of their fans and I apologize that it came out that way. I have the upmost [sic] respect for Kyle Whittingham, his coaching staff, and the Utah football players. I apologize to them and other members of the university for my comments. I'm also sorry if my comments took anything away from my teammates and coaches and our victory Saturday," Hall said.

The senior also said Sunday that he hopes "BYU and Utah fans can take steps to prevent future incidents at the game."

Hall will likely receive a public reprimand from the Mountain West Conference for the comments.

Javan Hedlund, associate commissioner for communications for the MWC, said Sunday that the conference is "very aware" of the comments made in a postgame news conference and has "initiated the process" to determine whether the senior violated the MWC's sportsmanship policy.

"We are going through the process, and if it warrants further public action, we will announce it. It won't be [Sunday], but it will be [today] or Tuesday, if something were to be made public," Hedlund said.

University of Utah associate athletic director Liz Abel said the school would have no comment regarding Hall's remarks and considered it a "BYU issue."

Because he has had no previous violations of the league's sportsmanship policy in the past 12 months, Hall's expected reprimand will amount to a slap on the wrist -- similar to what BYU defensive end Jan Jorgensen and linebackers coach Barry Lamb received last week for comments critical of Air Force's blocking techniques.

Certainly, though, Hall's comments have shifted the focus from another thrilling rivalry game and BYU's third razor-close win over Utah in four years to himself.

Internet message boards and social networking sites buzzed incessantly Sunday over the remarks of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White's nephew.

Hall's inflammatory comments came almost an hour after he threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Andrew George to give the Cougars a 26-23 win in overtime.

A throng of BYU fans stormed onto the field to celebrate the victory, and a few minor scuffles broke out in the northwest corner of the stadium where many Utah fans were gathered.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's wife, Jamie, was struck in the face while on the field and suffered a cut lip, but the coach declined to comment on the incident, according to Abel.

Until throwing the game-winning touchdown pass, Hall had not played particularly well in regulation. He finished completing 12 of 32 passes for 134 yards and two TDs. But he did not have any turnovers in the game, unlike in 2008 when he fumbled once and was intercepted five times in a 48-24 loss at Utah.

Asked Saturday if he felt any personal redemption for avenging that loss, Hall went on a rant about how much he hates Utah.

He said Utah fans threw beer on his family "and they did a whole bunch of nasty things, and I don't respect them, and they deserved to lose."

Asked after the rant if he wants the Utes to win their bowl game, the 24-year-old Hall replied, "I don't care."

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Statement from Max Hall

"I want to take the opportunity to clarify and apologize for a few of my remarks after the game yesterday. Last year at RES my family was spit on, had beer dumped on them, and were physically assaulted on several occasions. They had to endure extremely vile comments personally attacking my wife, my mother, other family members, and our religion. They had to be escorted to their car by local police.

"As a result of what happened to my family last year this rivalry became personal, and in the heat of the moment yesterday I made comments toward the entire university that were really directed specifically at those fans in RES. It was not intended to be directed at the entire organization and all of their fans and I apologize that it came out that way.

have the upmost [sic] respect for Kyle Whittingham, his coaching staff, and the Utah football players. I apologize to them and other members of the university for my comments. I'm also sorry if my comments took anything away from my teammates and coaches and our victory Saturday. The BYU-Utah game is a great rivalry, but no one should be treated the way my family was last year. I'm hoping that BYU and Utah fans can take steps to prevent future incidents at the game."