Utah Fan Gets Busted With Burner Account; Why It’s Time For More Civility Between Utah-BYU Fans

Sports can bring out the best in people and sometimes it can bring out the worst.

The latest burner account news isn’t about Kevin Durant this time, but involves a Utah Utes fan posing as a “BYU fan” on social media in an attempt to make the university, its fans and religious organization look bad.

Following Utah’s 33-28 thrilling victory over Washington on Saturday in a nationally televised game on FOX, quarterback Tyler Huntley was interviewed by Bruce Feldman about the teams toughness and resiliency as well as his gutsy and inspiring performance.

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Shortly thereafter, James Vaughan who went by JT_Vaughan on his now deleted Twitter account, posted a very disrespectful message towards Huntley.

He wrote: “Letting Tyler Huntley do a post game interview on national television is not a good look for the quality of a Utah education.

That tweet, of course, riled up Utah fans, players and coaches who quickly defended Huntley for his performance not only on the field but in the classroom as well. Huntley’s mom followed it up by tweeting: “I usually don’t post but this is very inappropriate. If you knew Tyler you’ll know interviews is not his thing. Words and actions on and off the field speaks for him. Tyler has always been a honor student, all his life, elementary, middle, high school and college.

Yet, with Vaughan’s fake twitter account, which he had been building for quite some time, it appeared that he was a die-hard BYU fan. So at first glance, Utah fans assumed he was “just another jealous BYU fan” and quickly blasted BYU and its entire fanbase — with many of those tweets now deleted after the truth came to light.

After searching his other social media accounts, screenshots were shared showing Vaughan dressed in all Utes clothing on his Instagram account, which was linked to his Twitter account. Oops!

This is now the second time in as many weeks that a Utah fan has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Two weeks ago, a Utah fan was disciplined after he sent a hate-filled message — which included a death threat — towards Arizona State’s Evan Fields. The direct message was in response to Fields getting ejection for a targeting call on Utah star running back Zack Moss in the first half.

Despite both programs leaving the Mountain West Conference the Holy War rivalry seems to have become even more toxic with heated moments between fans, players and coaches. The BYU-Utah football series was put on a two-year hiatus and the basketball series was halted for a year after BYU’s Nick Emery threw a punch at Utah guard Brandon Taylor in 2015. Emery was called for a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected. In 2010, Utah guard Marshall Henderson was ejected after punching BYU’s Jackson Emery — Nick’s brother.

The Utah Jazz recently banned several fans for life after an incident took place in March in which they used vulgar and inappropriate language at Russell Westbrook and other players.

The Jazz released a statement in which they denounced the actions saying, “We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward.

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From fans, sports stars to general managers, the internet and social media has unfortunately created a platform for users to make racist and cowardly remarks — and get away with it for the most part. You can bet those people wouldn’t say those same things to a group or person in their face, like they do from behind their computer screen.

Whether you root for the University of Utah, BYU, Utah State the Utah Jazz, Real Salt Lake or any other in-state school, more civility and sportsmanship is something we need and should support.

Recently, the Utah Jazz teamed up with athletes, coaches and universities from around the state in a “Lead Together” campaign which focuses on fighting discrimination, inequality, injustice, and racism in the Beehive State.

Instead of spending time creating troll accounts, booing and degrading opposing players and teams, why not use that time to make a difference in someone’s life, or here’s a crazy thought — use that time to cheer and support your own team. Wild right?!

Over the years, BYU and Utah fans, players and coaches have done some remarkable things to help each other and the community out. From golf tournaments that benefit a number of charities to food drives and even setting the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest dodgeball game, there is certainly power in numbers.

The two programs have show solidarity as they honored Hayes Tate and Elsie Mahe, two children of Utah and BYU players who passed away just weeks apart. Last year, BYU athletes even wore red to honor of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey.

One of my all-time favorite moments in the rivalry took place last year when both BYU and Utah fans came together to raise money to send a family to the Pac-12 championship game between Utah and Washington. Lastly, who could also forget fans from both sides chipping in to bring a Tennessee Vols football fan, along with his family, out to watch the BYU-Boise State game.

To make a long story short, don’t be a jerk and don’t judge an entire fan base based the actions of one individual.

Yes, there are some crazy fans on both sides, but don’t let it distract you from realizing that both sides have great and passionate fans! Parents on both sides of the rivalry have even commented about the misunderstandings, including Lisa Wilson and Chad Fotheringham who grew up cheering against the team their son’s now play on.

Instead of generalizing people or an entire fan base off a couple of posts on social media or fan boards, start by getting to know those people on the other side. You will see you that you have a lot more in common than you think.

And while it’s true that beating a rival and winning is fun, it’s not meant to be all encompassing. There is more to life than football, as hard as it is for some to hear!

We already know that the college football system is rigged as the organization makes sure to keep its brand name programs at the top. Meanwhile, any team in Utah, whether college or professional, is overlooked and never gets the benefit of the doubt. Every season, teams from the Beehive State face an uphill battle. So stop wasting time degrading opposing players, fans and coaches and start cheering for your own team.

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