Update: According to ESPN.com, Harvey Updyke will no longer be participating in a dunk tank or pie throwing contest, due to death threats coming in to former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s mother Dee Dee Bonner, who is helping with the event.
But Updyke’s appearance was canceled Thursday after Dee Dee Bonner, the mother of former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, and Katherine, the wife of McCarron, received death threats and other ugly messages on social media.
“It seems to be taking away from the primary purpose, which is raising awareness for children’s cancer,” Bonner said. “We don’t want to take away from the focus. We needed to get away from it.”
“I think Mr. Updyke’s heart was in the right place with what he wanted to do, but I think too many people are still upset about what he did and haven’t gotten over it,” Bonner said. “I didn’t approve of what he did, but I think he really wanted to help.”
Earlier: Alabama die-hard Harvey Updyke is probably the world’s most infamous college football fan after poisoning the trees at Toomer’s Corner at Auburn. Needless to say, there are probably thousands of Auburn fans who would like to get some (non-violent, good-spirited) revenge, and on September 29 in Mobile, they will get their chance. According to an ESPN article, Updyke will take part of a charity event, where he will likely sit in a dunking booth, or perhaps take pies to the face for a great cause.
“He thought about it and thought about it,” Updyke’s wife, Elva, said. “His daughter said he needed to do it because it will show that he’s not as big of a nut as some people believe. He told them they can do whatever they want to him if it will raise money for kids.”
T.J. Hodges, an Alabama fan living near Chicago, is organizing the event to help raise money for the family of John Oliver, a boy from outside Mobile who died of cancer in July. Hodges started a nonprofit organization, Roses From Linda, after his mother passed away that helps raise money for family members to visit terminally ill patients before they die.
“The Harvey Updyke idea came from me thinking outside the box to raise money for the family,” Hodges said. “I thought I’d take a chance and see if Harvey was interested in helping, and he said he’d do whatever we wanted.”
Updyke says that there will be security at the event, so he’s not worried about any Auburn fans getting violent.
Updyke’s wife said he realizes Auburn fans probably will show up at the Mobile charity event to take a shot at him. “He knows there’s going to be a lot of Auburn fans there, but he doesn’t care,” Elva Updyke said. “He’s 65 years old. What are they going to do to him? They’ll have security there.”
This is a nice move by Updyke to try to repair his image a bit, and a fun opportunity for Auburn fans. Let’s hope things don’t get out of hand.