Thursday, February 11, 2010

UF considering statues of Heisman Trophy Winners

We passed on this story last week or so because, quite frankly, we'd rather they not make statues of Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, and Tim Tebow.

Here's an excerpt from Nathan Crabbe's story:

The University of Florida has honored one person with a statue on campus - Albert A. Murphree, its second president.

The proposal is moving ahead less than two months after Tebow graduated and just after the former Florida quarterback faced controversy over appearing in a Super Bowl ad for a conservative Christian group. The plan for the statues raises questions about UF honoring Tebow in such a prominent way before the full breadth of his life outside of college is known.

"I think we haven't fully digested what the implications of that might be," said Eric Segal, an assistant professor of art history at UF.

Segal pointed out former baseball players Pete Rose, banned from baseball for gambling, and Mark McGwire, linked to steroids, as examples on the merits of waiting to honor athletes. The latter example is particularly pertinent - the St. Louis Cardinals reportedly commissioned a McGwire statue but mothballed it in the wake of the steroids scandal.

"We can put up a sculpture today, but we don't know how history is going to view these figures," Segal said.

The UF statues still would need approval from university officials. The statues also would need questions resolved about funding and location, said Steve McClain, UF athletic association spokesman. He said the idea has been in the planning stages for a year and was always viewed as a way to honor all three Heisman winners.

That could change with the University Athletic Association's plan for life-sized bronze statues of Heisman Trophy winners Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow.

Prof. Segal has a good point, but history has taught us so much more about statues. Just a few weeks ago it was announced that a statue of Saban was going to be erected in Tuscaloosa and we all snickered. (You know you did too.)

And then there's Bobby Bowden's statue. Why do all these statues seem to be doing the Communist Dictator's Taxi Wave?

Which of the three is going to get the "passing motion" instead of the wave? Spurrier? Danny, the praying hands? And Tim, the "hug"?

Here's what happens to statues eventually. (Click on the photo)

You want some bronze on campus? How about reinstalling the Victory Bell, which honored Gator war dead, out in front of the Swamp? It will be a far greater gesture to the Gator Nation and future generations on our legacy as a school, athletic association, and community.

(And for those of you who don't know what we're talking about, before the stadium expansion in 1990 the Victory bell hung in one of the gates in the north endzone, roughly where the band sits today. As you exited, you rang the bell honoring both the team and those Gators who paid the ultimate sacrifice. How nice would it be to ring that bell again.)

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