The Stigma of Being an Alabama Fan

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Being a Crimson Tide fan in Nashville definitely has its consequences. You can’t be an Alabama loyalist without being labeled something….mind you, that something is almost never positive. We’re all bandwagon-jumpers. We’re all mindless rednecks. Very few of us have teeth. We all claim 72 national championships.  We’re all homers, etc. 

Allow me to share a story from a friend of mine.


On the night the Alabama Crimson Tide eviscerated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the BCS championship, my buddy was heading home from the local sports-themed adult-beverage-dispensing establishment. Noticing his gas tank read ‘E,’ he realized he would have to stop for gas or risk walking home on the mean streets of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. If you’ve ever visited Mount Juliet, you know it’s the last place you want to be stranded. I once saw a man punched in the face there.

Anyway, said friend was adorned with his Crimson Tide hat as he stood in the cold January air fueling his car. A second car pulled up to the pumps, and a man emerged to follow suit. As he approached the store to pay, he saw my friend, and uttered, “Man, you guys jump on that bandwagon quick.” 

This was an hour after the game. 

To this guy, it was impossible that my friend was a genuine follower of the program….that he attended school there and came from a family of rich Alabama traditions….no, he was a bandwagoner. 

And so goes the life of an Alabama fan in Nashville.

Granted, there seem to be infinite amounts of bandwagoners here from all walks of the SEC, but still, this kind of incident gets frustrating for the true fans. 

Some of us were born into it. My cousins teach their children “Rammer Jammer…” before they learn to read. At that age, you know Big Al as well as you know Big Bird. We come from families with dogs named Saban and gather in houses littered with relics of the past. My personal favorite is the commemorative Coca-Cola six-pack from the 1992 National Championship that sets pristinely on the refrigerator in my uncle’s garage.

It is beautiful, and every time I see it, I pray.

Still, I have a college degree. I have a job that requires unwavering focus and quick decision-making. I embrace other fanbases. I think (I hope) I am a pretty well-adjusted, intelligent man. Yet still, I’m lumped into a category with guys who wrestle with cops shirtless and poison century-old trees that hold tremendous sentimental value to the locals. 

I am in the middle of Vols country here. That’s short for Tennessee Volunteers for those of you reading outside of the SEC footprint. A good portion of our citizens emblazon their wardrobes with orange and white and call me a traitor. They assume I know nothing about Alabama and that I angrily defend against any criticism that might befall my beloved Tide. I want to be respected as a well-rounded, contributing member of society, though it seems the “A” on my hat is the scarlet letter. 

Still, this seemingly random and completely nonsensical idea that your worth is tied into your college football rooting interest is a part of what makes college football great. It’s also a large majority of why non-sports fans think sports fans are stupid.

We feel as though we are a part of the program. We bond over our teams and forge friendships that last a lifetime. All for one, and one for all! If you say you are an Alabama fan, that means something to someone….you’re either a brother or a bastard. Either way, part of your identity and character is represented by your loyalty. 

And besides, why would I care that a bunch of whiny Vols fans don’t respect who I am? What does their respect mean? You bought in on Derek Dooley for crying out loud.

Though it pains me to say this, I don’t think I could respect a fanbase that didn’t stick up for their own. So, Tennessee fans, I will gladly be your punching bag. I’m just happy to be a part of the pageantry of college football, the biggest part, actually: the fans.

Roll Tide, y’all.


Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.