Iron Bowl trash talk can get out of hand fast, especially when you invoke trees.
It began when former Crimson Tide wide receiver Marquis Maze on Monday tweeted a meme of Harvey Updyke’s image looming over Jordan-Hare Stadium, with the former wideout seeming to pay tribute to the late fan convicted of damaging the sacred trees.
Auburn University announced in August that the pair of replacement live oaks at Toomer’s Corner, which were planted in February of 2017, are finally viable enough to bear the burden of being rolled in celebratory toilet paper.
“Rip Harvey one of the greatest fans of all time Roll Tide,” Maze wrote, including a laughing/crying emoji. “I know you watching from above.”
The tweet quickly drew the outrage of fans, both of Auburn and Alabama, but Maze did not back down.
“Y’all talk about Harvey Updyke killing trees but don’t say shit about these companies that kill trees daily is wild, y’all muthaf—ers hunt deer but y’all crying bout some damn trees is funny to me Rip Harvey and Roll Tide,” Maze wrote. “Bama by 30 Saturday f— Auburn.”
Updyke gained infamy in 2011 when he called into Paul Finebaum’s radio show claiming to have poisoned the iconic trees after the Auburn’s win in the Iron Bowl the previous November. “Let me tell you what I did,” Updyke, calling as “Al in Dadeville,” told Finebaum on the air. “The weekend after the Iron Bowl, I went to Auburn because I lived 30 miles away, and I poisoned the two Toomer’s trees. I put Spike 80DF in ‘em. They’re not dead yet, but they definitely will die.”
He later pleaded guilty in 2013 to a felony charge of criminal damage of an agricultural facility and spent more than 70 days in jail. The former Texas state trooper was ordered to pay $800,000 in court-ordered penalties and restitution. Auburn later cut down the oak trees and replaced them. Updyke died of natural causes in 2020.
Maze later quoted a tweet from a user named Angry Bird that said “If you think all he did was ‘killed some trees’ then you must think and live on Harvey’s level” and followed up with “F— them trees.”
Born in Birmingham, Maze attended Tarrant High School. After initially committing to Michigan, Maze flipped to Alabama in 2007. He redshirted his freshman year and saw the field the next season, scoring a touchdown in the final minutes of the Iron Bowl in 2008 on a throw from then-backup quarterback Greg McElroy.
For the next two seasons, Maze established himself as Alabama’s second option at wide receiver playing alongside Julio Jones. In 2011, Maze became the Tide’s primary receiver as well as a gifted punt returner. During a return in the BCS Championship Game against LSU, Maze injured his hamstring and did not return, but he finished his career with two national championships and three SEC titles. He went undrafted and later signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was later waived.
The online back-and-forth continued, with Maze willingly engaging with fans angry what he expressed about the beloved trees. Many insulted Maze’s intelligence and made jokes about would-be brain injuries he sustained during his football career, which he laughed off in subsequent posts.
Some Alabama fans cheered him on in the spirit of Iron Bowl trash talk. “It’s just Hate week…and I wanna put them in their feelings all week,” Maze wrote. Other Tide fans disagreed, one writing “As a lifetime fan and Alumnus I strongly disagree regarding Updyke…” at which Maze then quoted Updyke’s line he used on the Finebaum show: “It’s too much Bama in me.”
An Auburn fan criticized Maze for celebrating a crime someone committed. “Did I do it?” Maze responded. “That s— was yrs ago get over it y’all got new trees now to cry under damn y’all sensitive about them tress f— em.”
Maze continued the next day after the barrage of responses he kept getting online, writing “It’s funny how serious y’all take a game of football and half you MF’s can’t play it.”
He said someone reported his account after the posts. “Who ever reported my page yesterday is a punk can’t handle trash talk…F… Auburn & their trees them dead MF’S.”
“God gave me common sense not to pick auburn yrs ago, Thank you Lord!” Maze also wrote. “cause I would’ve been known as a losing tree rolling player.”
“I’m done Auburners…maybe next yr them trees will bloom and it will help you guys win some games,” Maze seemingly concluded Tuesday morning. “Peace beyond to you.”