Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled The Best Passages From emESPN The Magazines/em 7,000-Word Feature On The Alabama Teabagging Video

You remember when Brian Downing teabagged a passed-out Garrison Stamp after last year's BCS title game, right? Of course you do, because the entire thing was breathtakingly stupid and cruel and hilarious in its own awful way, and you've probably watched the video of the incident a dozen times.


But have you read 7,000 overwrought words about the subject? Have you gazed upon tasteful "man looking wistfully into the middle distance, contemplating a vast, ineffable sadness" photo spreads? No? Well, here's ESPN The Magazine (and author Mark Winegardner) with some Serious Longform Magazine Journalism to change all that.


Let's not forget what this story is about: a dude putting his balls on another dude's face. A sexual assault, yes. A crime, sure. But there is only so much fake gravitas you can summon for a crime like this before you start to look ridiculous. Here, for instance, is the moment that Brian Downing and his wife first become aware of the teabagging video (we've added some clarification in brackets):

Andrea signs on to Gmail. As promised, the friend sent the link [of a dude putting his balls on another dude's face]. In the family room, the baby sleeps. Brian [the dude who put his balls on another dude's face] takes out his company-provided laptop and sinks into the couch. In these adjoining rooms, shot through with panic and disbelief [about a dude putting his balls on another dude's face], the Downings begin to watch [a dude putting his balls on another dude's face].

From a second-by-second breakdown of the teabagging video:

2:11 — A guy holding a beer bottle and wearing an Alabama sweatshirt becomes the second person in the video to begin to unzip his pants. Once more, Cassin cock-blocks.


3:31 — Hello, Brian Downing's scrotum.

3:32 — Yet another new speaker: "He's gonna put his balls on him." To do so, some readers may need to be told, is known as tea bagging.


4:01 — Rocky Balboa raised his arms in triumph just like this, except that his balls weren't hanging out.


4:37 — Goodbye, Brian Downing's scrotum.

Yes. "Goodbye, Brian Downing's scrotum."

Here's the writer describing the moments after Garrison Stamp first watched himself getting teabagged:

Garrison keeps pacing at the thought of what the disembodied voice says, watching the abuse [in which a dude put his balls on Stamp's face] escalate. They said I was dead, he thinks, and people just laughed. The whole time he's watching, he presumes this will end as soon as one decent human being — a Krystal employee, an LSU fan, a Bama fan, anybody — steps in and stops this. (If you'd been there, dear reader, it would have been you, right?)


Admonishing Downing's friends for not agreeing to be interviewed:

These friends do, by all accounts, exist. They apparently remembered the next morning what had happened at Krystal [a dude put his balls on another dude's face], but none of them appears in the video and none did anything to stop it [a dude putting his balls on another dude's face]. They had the chance to be interviewed for this story and try to convince you, dear reader, that what Downing did that night [he put his balls on another dude's face] was out of character. None of them bothered.


On Downing beginning to remember what happened on the night of the teabagging:

It took some convincing. Soon, though, the wheels started turning. It [his putting his balls on another dude's face] came back to him, dimly. A random LSU fan. Some hazy memory that he, Brian Downing, had for God knows what reason presented his ball sack to the faceless many. A jumbled-up din of laughter and cheers and chants of "Roll Tide."


On Stamp calling his mother to tell her that he got teabagged:

He calls Heather. He tells her about seeing the link, clicking it, watching the video [of a dude putting his balls on Stamp's face]. "Mom," he says. He pauses. "Someone tea-bagged me."


Garrison doesn't want her to think of him that way. He tells her he doesn't know what he should do. She tells Garrison not to panic and that she loves him.

He can barely process anything she's saying.

Describing the day Downing was fired for teabagging a guy:

After 12 years of working his way up from stock boy to district manager, Brian deserves better than this [getting fired for putting his balls on another dude's face], he thinks, but he keeps that to himself, too. When the meeting ends, Brian goes home and cleans out his company-supplied Ford Escape and packs up his company-supplied computer and cellphone. Andrea has to follow him to his office and wait in the dark with the baby while her husband trudges inside and hands his life away [because he put his balls on another dude's face].


On Stamp getting an offer to appear on Tosh.0:

His phone never blows up with the texts and calls he'd braced for, though a producer at Comedy Central's Tosh.0 tries to persuade him and Downing to come on the show for a web redemption [because the latter put his balls on the former's face]. Stamp's a fan but declines — yet still finds it sort of cool.


On Stamp trying to move on from getting teabagged:

Garrison is trying to move on [from a dude putting his balls on Stamp's face]. He doesn't want to be some pathetic prop in a viral video, some unnamed, helpless victim [of a dude putting his balls on Stamp's face]. He's determined that it [a dude putting his balls on Stamp's face] won't define him.


The whole story is like this—a bad Southern cracker-lit impression in which blood and dust and implacable, immemorial old Faulknerian things have been replaced with a nutsack. Maybe it's fitting that the saga of the Alabama teabagger ends with this story, an act of public masturbation.


h/t @Schlongreads

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