When it was announced through the loud speakers at Michigan Stadium that Ohio State offensive lineman Marcus Hall would be ejected from his final battle against that team up North, I could only imagine the deflation and rage that coursed through his veins.
A game he had prepared for with incredible diligence simply vanished amidst a moment of chaos.
I watched live in Ann Arbor as Hall stomped off the field, showing his helmet no mercy as he tossed it mightily toward the bench, and allowed his emotions to gain him the notoriety he most likely never thought he’d have, as he made the obscene gesture that will go down in infamy.
While I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with the legendary double-bird gesture after it happened, as it was a decisive blow to OSU’s play, I completely understand how it could happen.
At that moment, Hall’s anger was at an unfathomable level and amidst it all, with nothing left to do, Hall showed Michigan — its fans, its coaches, its players — what he really thought of them in one rage-filled moment.
Of course, Hall’s gesture quickly went viral and while it didn’t paint him or his team in the most positive light, it was, in my book, somewhat acceptable. It was nothing more than a player’s emotions getting the best of him. We’ve seen it before and we’ll certainly see it again. In such a big game, a game dubbed “The Game,” its even more understandable.
Hall’s latest move, however, I take small issue with.
Amidst his newfound fame, Hall has decided to take advantage of the opportunity for monetary profit, selling photos of the incident titled, “Noteable Moments” with his signature and a line, “4X Gold Pants,” beneath the title.
I don’t have a problem with Hall taking advantage of his fleeting popularity — he’s going to sell a lot of those autographed photos.
Rather, I have a problem with the perception that the signed picture gives off, both of Hall and OSU.
First of all, with Hall, I am perplexed as to why he would be proud of this moment. Clearly, if he’s signing the pictures, he’s owning the moment and is almost proud of the way he handled himself in the Big House.
Again, I understand why it happened, but for Hall to embrace the moment, rather than to leave it in the past, is immature.
Hall is looking to be selected in May’s NFL Draft, but if I’m an NFL general manager looking to draft him, this photo-signing incident raises an immediate red flag. If Hall wasn’t mature enough in the Big House to handle himself professionally, and he’s not mature enough now to realize that he made a mistake, I certainly wouldn’t believe Hall would be mature enough to handle the NFL and its many challenges.
In addition, the signed photos seem to paint the OSU community — students, faculty and fans — in a negative light.
My visualization of what members of other colleges and college football communities think of OSU goes as follows: “Wow, Ohio State fans are proud of Marcus Hall for this incident, so much so that they are willing to put money into his pockets for doing such a thing. Oh, and to top it all off, the word “notable” is spelled wrong, so not only are they proud of an obscene gesture, they are too dumb to realize it’s spelled wrong.”
The Marcus Hall moment will live on for many, many years to come. Rather than to embrace it, the OSU community should simply compartmentalize the moment as an example of the competitive spirit of the OSU–Michigan rivalry. Neither Hall, nor anyone else, should be proud of the moment.
These autographed and misspelled mementos are evidence of the latter, not the former.