AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - Auburn and Alabama fans both expressed outrage Thursday morning over the poisoning of the famous oak trees at Toomer's Corner as people across the country discussed the unique nature of the football rivalry.
Fans of both schools wrote on Facebook and Twitter and called in to sports talk and news talk shows Wednesday night and Thursday expressing their disgust with the poisoning of the tree. Alabama fans calling in to WJOX-FM were also quick to say the man who called the Paul Finebaum Radio Network claiming to have poisoned the tree does not represent most Alabama fans.
Wednesday, Auburn University announced the oak trees at Toomer's Corner had been given a lethal dose of herbacide. School officials said horticulturalists were attempting to save the trees, but did not believe the trees would survive.
Paul Finebaum told FOX6 News local, state and federal investigators were looking into the story, which began on his show on January 27 when a man calling himself "Al from Dadeville" called in to the show claiming to have poisoned the trees. The man said he poisoned the trees the week after last year's Iron Bowl because he said he saw a newspaper clipping from 1983 showing Auburn fans rolling Toomer's Corner the day former Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant died.
During the call, which was posted Wednesday on Finebaum.com, Paul Finebaum asked the man if poisoning the tree was illegal.
"Do you think I care? I don't," the man said.
The man then ended the call saying, "Roll Damn Tide."
The identity of the man was not known Wednesday night, but Thursday morning, authorities announced an arrest in connection with the incident. More details were to be released at a news conference later in the morning.
Paul Finebaum, on Good Day Alabama Thursday morning, said the story is being debated from coast to coast.
"Once again, people are making fun of this rivalry," Finebaum said. "We have the two most rabid fan bases in the country, and I think with Auburn winning a national championship after Alabama, this rivalry is at an all-time high."
Finebaum said this incident will only make things worse between the two schools.
"Where we go from here is a little scary," Finebaum said. "I think there will be retaliation and I think this already civil war will escalate. I don't see pretty days ahead."
News of the incident quickly spread Wednesday on Facebook and Twitter. Thousands of people left comments on MyFoxAL.com and various FOX6 WBRC Facebook pages. In addition, a "Toomer's Tree Hug" event was posted overnight on Facebook, asking Auburn fans to show up Saturday between noon and 3 p.m. to show their support for the trees. As of 8 a.m. Thursday, more than 4,700 people had said they would attend.
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