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(BYU quarterback Max Hall (15) scores a touchdown during the Utah BYU game Saturday November 22, 2008. Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune)
Monson: Don’t laugh at Max Hall now

College football » Ex-BYU QB was a lightning rod, but he needs help, not jeers

First Published Sep 02 2014 07:05 pm • Last Updated Sep 03 2014 07:48 am

Bitter people who are still mad at Max Hall are laughing at him now.

It became public on Tuesday that the former BYU quarterback was busted in Arizona for shoplifting. He also had cocaine, as well as two needles and a metal spoon, in his backpack, along with the stolen goods, according to the police report. In his mug shot, he was wearing a BYU T-shirt.

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Funny, funny stuff.

A laugh a minute.

Who can’t stop laughing?

No, no, it’s not. Let’s all stop.

Folks on social media had a fine time with this one, especially Utah fans who were targeted by Hall five years ago when Hall said he hated the University of Utah and everyone and everything associated with it. I was sitting right in front of him on that occasion, shocked as much as the next guy, when the senior QB threw his anger at the Utes after the Cougars had beaten them. Among other things, he called Utah fans classless.

Now, although it’s already too late for some of them, Utah fans have a chance to prove him wrong.

Don’t laugh at Hall. Feel for him.

Question: How many good people have you known who have struggled with drugs? How many lives have been hi-jacked by cocaine or some other illicit drug or painkiller? How many have become desperate to get whatever means are necessary to secure some kind of high because they thought they had no other choice? How many have become addicted? How many lives have been ruined? How many have died?

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Too, too many.

I’ve lost a couple of friends. And I miss them.

Hate to get all preachy here, but it’s always been troubling that in this country people who use and abuse drugs get arrested and possibly thrown in jail. People in some other countries who use and abuse drugs get put in rehab. Maybe I’m naïve, but it seems help and healing is smarter than punishment and prison.

I don’t know Max’s situation. I don’t know with exactness why he was stealing and why he had cocaine, two syringes and a spoon on his person. But I have a pretty good guess. The fact that he was doing the former with the latter on him indicates that he was not thinking straight. According to the police report out of Gilbert, Ariz., Hall admitted to the theft and to drug use.


I’ve interviewed Hall a hundred times, most recently a few months ago in studio on my radio show. He appeared and sounded articulate, on top of it, really dialed in. I asked him if he had his college days to do over again, would he do anything different. He chuckled. He said he’d learned a few things along the way.

Now, he needs different lessons. He needs empathy. He needs help. He needs healing. We all know people who, to varying degrees, need all of that and more.

Everybody has a demon or two to overcome. What he doesn’t need is a lot of hatred, a lot of rivalry BS flying back in his face.

He was wearing a BYU T-shirt … ha-ha-ha-ha. Let’s stop with the giggles and the guffaws. Let’s stop with the talk of irony and karma. The chains of drug use are dangerous and punitive enough without senseless ridicule and spectacle.

Just because Max Hall played quarterback at a rival school and popped off back in the day shouldn’t give license for everybody to laugh at the man’s troubles when he’s battling this kind of problem. That’s true in his case, and it’s true for others, too, red or blue, who have found themselves tangled up in any kind of alcohol or drug abuse.

Spare Hall and anyone else facing that monster the laughter.

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