Brutus can't break silence about bobcat brawl
Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 01:09
Brutus won't break the silence. But it is not his decision.
OSU won't let Brutus Buckeye talk about the premeditated attack perpetrated by Ohio University's Rufus on Saturday.
Despite repeated attempts by The Lantern in the last two days, the student who donned the Brutus uniform during last week's game declined to speak directly about the event.
"I appreciate your interest but I have now been told by administration that it is university policy for me not to comment on situations which are beyond my control," Sean Stazen wrote in an e-mail to The Lantern Tuesday evening. "I thank you for your understanding and willingness to be fair and honest and to portray Ohio State in a positive light."
On the other hand, Brandon Hanning, also known as Rufus the Bobcat, is proud of the assault, which he said he planned for two years. It has been covered extensively by national media outlets, including ESPN.
What jump-started Hanning's plans was when "I watched a video of the Oregon Duck beating up another mascot and I thought it would be pretty funny if Rufus beat up Brutus," he said.
Although Stazen would not comment directly, his Facebook account told more of the story.
After thwarting Rufus' initial attempt to take him down near the 50-yard line, Brutus continued toward the north end zone, where Stazen said on Facebook, "I throw him to the ground, his head pops off (most embarrassing thing that can happen to a mascot) then I walk to the endzone before he jumps on my back and starts punching me where I jump and land on his/my back and break the hold despite a few more pathetically weak punches......That's what happens when a boy messes with a man."
After the brief skirmish, an OU staff member escorted Rufus off the field.
But the image of Rufus lying in the end zone with Brutus standing beside him remains on Stazen's Facebook page, which is now private. Under the photo, Stazen, a fourth-year in communication, wrote a message that reads something like a motivational poster found in some business offices, "Failure: When your life-long dream just doesn't quite happen..."
Needless-to-say, the OU administration was not pleased with Hanning's actions.
In a statement, OU assistant athletic director for media relations Jason Corriher said Hanning has been forbidden from any further affiliation with Ohio Athletics.
"We apologize to Ohio State University and its many loyal fans for the poor decision made by the Bobcat mascot in tackling the Buckeye mascot when Ohio State came onto the field during Saturday's football game," Corriher said in the statement. "The department does not condone this behavior and apologizes for the negative effects that this had on an intercollegiate event between two proud institutions."
Although Hanning has lost the privilege of representing Bobcat athletics as a mascot, he said the punishment does not bother him because he was able to accomplish his goal.
"I really didn't care because this is what I wanted to do in the first place and I'm not even enrolled at OU anymore, so it didn't really matter to me," Hanning said. He said he didn't expect this type of publicity, but he is "stoked" about it.
No mascots were injured during the brawl, and OSU football coach Jim Tressel assured fans Brutus Buckeye would be OK during his weekly press conference in the Fawcett Center on Tuesday.
"I saw Brutus over at the Block O event last night and asked him if he was going to be ready for Saturday," Tressel said. "He's probable from an injury-report standpoint."