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Gary Andersen Clarifies His Paul Bunyan Axe Comments - Translation: He Took Back The Stupid Things He Said, Sort Of

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The official walking back of Andersen's comments by the UW PR folks came more quickly than I anticipated.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that plan to "hide" the Axe that UW head coach Gary Andersen unveiled today? The one that everyone outside of Madison (and many within it) mocked repeatedly for its tone deafness to tradition, logical failings, and general over-reactive nature? Yea, someone at UW make him say he didn't mean it.

To recap, here's what Badgers head coach Gary Andersen had to say at his press availability today (per Bucky's 5th Quarter):

Rather, as head coach Gary Andersen discussed in his Monday press conference, the Axe will "disappear" during the game and be brought to the winning team's locker room afterward. Players will still be able to bring the Axe back out onto the field to celebrate with fans and, presumably, still "chop" the losing team's goal post as tradition.

And here is UW's "clarification" of the decision (via email from UW):

Head Coach Gary Andersen: "I would like to clarify our policy in regards to the post-game presentation of Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The only change is that the Axe will not be staged in the bench area. Instead, it will be presented in the end zone, closest to the winning team’s locker room. I support this policy that has been put in place by our administration and was put into action during our game with Nebraska. It is important for us to maintain the traditions of our trophy games while also doing what we feel is in the best interests of the student-athletes."

This policy mirrors what was done during the Nebraska game with the Freedom Trophy. The Axe will be brought to the field late in the fourth quarter and staged near the goalpost of the winning team. The winning team will then be allowed to celebrate on the field with the Axe as has been the tradition.

That's some fine PR work UW. Let's translate it line by line.

Actual Quote: Head Coach Gary Andersen: I would like to clarify our policy in regards to the post-game presentation of Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

Translation: I'd like to take back the stupid thing I said earlier today.

Actual Quote: The only change is that the Axe will not be staged in the bench area. Instead, it will be presented in the end zone, closest to the winning team’s locker room.

Translation: You know when I said the Axe would "disappear" and be presented to the team in the locker room? Forget all that. Someone reminded me I'd only been a part of this thing for 1 year and that I was making Bo Ryan look like a reasonable human being with a fine and upstanding reputation of always being courteous towards referees when compared to the lunacy of this idea.

Actual Quote: I support this policy that has been put in place by our administration and was put into action during our game with Nebraska. It is important for us to maintain the traditions of our trophy games while also doing what we feel is in the best interests of the student-athletes.

Translation: Look at how cute I am, talking about the ornamental paperweight from a Washington D.C. Walgreens that a marketing team shat out two weeks ago as if it was an equal to the Axe. Did you guys figure out that I don't understand this whole rivalry thing yet? Because I don't.

Actual Quote: This policy mirrors what was done during the Nebraska game with the Freedom Trophy.

Translation: Yep, still talking about that faux-patriotic monstrosity. The fact that I'm not giggling as I say it's name should make you question whether I'm fit to coach a football team.

Actual Quote: The Axe will be brought to the field late in the fourth quarter and staged near the goalpost of the winning team.

Translation: I am either too dumb to know the difference between a sideline and a locker room (that's proven to be embarrassing in the past, but how was I supposed to know a garden hose wasn't a shower?) or Barry said mean things to me while reminding me I was supposed to be an upgrade over Bert in the "thinking things through" department.

Actual Quote: The winning team will then be allowed to celebrate on the field with the Axe as has been the tradition.

Translation: Someone pointed out that the band does this music marching thingie after the game and that my previous plan was flawed conceptually in addition to be dumb and disrespectful to tradition and everything that makes trophy games fun and exciting.

I'm glad UW cleaned up Gary's mess so quickly. It's good to know that Barry can stop staring at his his own statue lovingly long enough to do something other than be Delany's sanctioned leak carrying water-boy.

GO GOPHERS!

#AXE