When remembering and celebrating the lives of the recently departed, there is a certain level of decorum that just about everyone instinctively understands. You shouldn’t bad-mouth your Uncle Hank at his own funeral. You shouldn’t workshop pick-up lines on someone trying to make it through his or her mother’s wake. You shouldn’t offer to take pictures with uninterested mourners at a viewing. While these are extreme examples, they should be obvious, but I’m not so sure anymore.
On Wednesday, the O-Zone’s Tony Gerdeman tweeted out pictures of a poster intended to be given to the family of Earle Bruce, who had been remembered at a public memorial held at St. John Arena earlier in the day.
The sign accompanying the poster said, “Former Coaches and Players/ Please sign this photo as a keepsake for the family.” However, as Gerdeman highlighted in one of his tweeted images, amongst the two dozen or so names at the time, there seemed to be a bit of an outlier; the name “Buck I Guy” was prominently displayed just over Bruce’s right shoulder in the photo.
Even if you are fortunately unfamiliar with the name Buck I Guy, chances are slim that any Ohio State fan has been able to avoid seeming him on TV, at a Buckeye game, or hanging around all sorts of campus events— often as an invited guest. However, he is neither a former player, nor coach for Earle Bruce.
The 57-year-old Buck I Guy, real name John Chubb, has made himself into a minor Columbus and college football celebrity solely on his omnipresence at all things Ohio State football. Constantly in his all white costume complete with a ten-gallon hat, cape, and scarlet (or occasionally gray) mustache, Chubb can often be found carrying photos and/or bobbleheads of himself. He is regularly seen taking pictures around tailgates with fans, whether they are particularly interested in doing so or not.
Now, in fairness, Chubb is sought out for photos from fans, he makes for a wonderful television image, and the university allows him to drive his Buckeye-decaled white convertible in parades, so he isn’t considered a public menace by everyone in the Ohio State community.
However, infinitely respected Columbus sports radio reporter Lori Schmidt of 105.7 The Zone pointed out last night that Chubb’s latest stunt has far exceeded his normal antics of pushing others out of the way to jump in front of a camera, or badgering people to have (and sometimes pay for) their picture taken with him.
Instead, in this case, his flagrant dismissal of common courtesy-- not to mention outright vandalism of an otherwise cherished momento— has drawn the ire of not only former players (including former OSU offensive lineman Kirk Barton, who has been a longtime critic of Chubb), but also Bruce’s family, in the form of Buckeye wide receivers coach, Zach Smith, Bruce’s grandson.
When former players are upset and Earle Bruce's family members are upset, you done goofed up. I would humbly suggest Buck-I-Guy lay low for...well, the rest of eternity. pic.twitter.com/68P4irpqft— Lori Schmidt (@LoriSchmidt) April 26, 2018
Now, I don’t know this guy— other than by his less than sterling reputation—, and he very well might be a wonderful, caring, charitable human being; in fact I hope he is. However, when I saw Gerdeman’s tweet, I was both shocked and appalled, but nowhere near surprised. Chubb’s reputation is to belligerently insert himself into as many high profile situations as possible; this type of obnoxious, disrespectful behavior is what he does. I’m just surprised that he didn’t turn around and charge the Bruce family for the honor.
Every fan base has that guy, and Chubb is ours. Unfortunately, because TV directors continue to put him on our screens, and the university likes to trot him out in an effort to show the levels of Buckeye fandom, I think we are stuck with this guy for the foreseeable future.
As far as I’m concerned, I am in favor of anyone (and everyone) wearing the scarlet and gray with pride, no matter in what type of ridiculous outfit that manifests itself. But, many in Buckeye Nation (myself included) have felt for years that Chubb has gone too far in the way that he handles himself. So, with the most sincerity that I can muster that, I hope against hope that from this incident, Chubb learns that there are boundaries— even for “super fans”— that just shouldn’t be crossed, even in an attempt to get a little extra recognition.
UPDATE: According to Bruce’s former radio partner, WTVN’s Matt McCoy, some former players took exception to Chubb’s vandalism, and decided to do something in return.
A follow up on the Buck-I-Guy, signing the Earle picture mess... It clearly angered former players...to the point that someone used black marker to scribble out his signature and creatively turned it into a drawing of a buckeye.— Matt McCoy (@MattMcCoyZone) April 26, 2018