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Wonnacott responds to SDSU’s poking

by Matt McClanahan

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Courtesy of Matt McClanahan

San Diego State hadn’t finished beating New Mexico last week, much less played Air Force, when its student section began chanting: “We want Jimmer!”

In response to the chant, BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette reportedly said, “They are trying to do a lot of different stuff … to try to get into my head.”

SDSU student fan R.J. Ruppel said he knows what “stuff” Fredette was referring to.

Last time the Aztecs played the BYU guard, Fredette scored 43 points in a win to become a Naismith College Player of the Year frontrunner. Both Top 10 teams will enter Saturday’s matchup with even more at stake — prompting some Aztec fans to seek a psychological advantage over Fredette.

A few weeks ago, Ruppel helped create a Facebook event inviting 7,000 SDSU fans to “poke Jimmer’s girlfriend” on Facebook. The stated mission of the event was to “disrupt, upset, distract and irritate (the) opponent.”

It was titled “Poke Jimmer Fredette’s girlfriend because Jimmer can’t poke her for himself.” The event page provided a picture of Fredette’s significant other — Cougar cheerleader Whitney Wonnacott — and a link to her Facebook profile.

Hundreds of Aztec fans subsequently prodded Wonnacott with Facebook “pokes.” Some fans friend requested her and others sent Facebook messages.

“I got a few inboxes that were just, like, kind of rude with some foul language,” Wonnacott said. “But they weren’t personally attacking me.”

Ruppel said that five days after the webpage was created, Facebook shut it down, citing harassment.

“I just started a fad; I didn’t expect anything like this,” Ruppel said. “It kind of blew up in my face.”

Some SDSU students who are unaffiliated with Ruppel are now selling “I poked Jimmer’s girlfriend” T-shirts. Aztec student Brent Duclos said he is expecting to sell 200 before the BYU game. According to Duclos and Ruppel, there were talks that local pub Effin’s was interested in sponsoring a giveaway for the shirts. Duclos said he isn’t looking to make a profit and that anyone can buy one for $10. Duclos posts his name and number on a Facebook webpage entitled “SDSU Poked Jimmer Shirts.”

SDSU administration has stated it won’t allow the shirts into the game on Saturday at Viejas Arena. Men’s basketball head coach Steve Fisher has even sent a message to the students, encouraging them to keep it classy.

Part of his message read, “It is important to remember that when you are in the student section, you represent something greater than yourself … We always encourage ‘The Show’ to continue to be the most creative, funny, and loudest student section in America, but we cannot cross the line into topics that are out of bounds and distasteful, particularly making fun of one’s religion.”

Despite Wonnacott saying the whole ordeal is rather harmless, she did disable her Facebook account for the time being. Wonnacott also said she is now “standoffish” about attending the big game.

“I think that SDSU is doing it to try and get inside of (Fredette’s) head,” Wonnacott said. “He was standing right next to me and was like, ‘It’s not getting in my head!’ … I don’t think it’s bothering him.”

While a “poke” on Facebook is an innocuous feature typically used among friends on the social networking site to acknowledge one another, the title of the event page (and now the T-shirt) is admittedly brazen with sexual innuendo according to both Ruppel and Duclos. And the innuendo is a play on Fredette’s Mormon religion, which is stereotyped for having strict views regarding premarital sex.

This is not the first time Aztec fans have taken a “poke” at Mormonism. Last year, some students dressed in bicycle helmets and missionary attire for the BYU basketball game. There are students who plan to wear the same for this year’s matchup.

Ruppel and Duclos consider the event page and T-shirts a lighthearted joke, but they’ve both received negative feedback and hate mail from people who “feel like they’re too ethically and morally righteous,” Duclos said.

Duclos said he had a 20-minute phone conversation with a Mormon woman living in San Diego who said the T-shirts cross the line.

“But this is all in good fun,” Duclos said. “Everyone’s having a good time, you know?”

Not everyone.

“Obviously, I don’t appreciate it as (Whitney’s) older brother,” Garrett Wonnacott said. “I don’t think any of us appreciated it as members of her family.

“But it’s not like it’s the end of the world … It’s just a rivalry.”

Despite it being popularly known through the Internet that Wonnacott is Fredette’s girlfriend, her brother said no other schools have targeted his sister like this.

Ruppel said Wonnacott could’ve avoided all this — the event page, the “pokes,” T-shirts, everything.

“As soon as she started dating the Player of the Year candidate, she could have disactivated (sic) everything about her Facebook and we would have never had this problem in the first place,” Ruppel said. “But she didn’t, and she had to learn the hard way that you got to be careful with what you put out there.”

Wonnacott said she didn’t know at the time she could make her profile more private. She also said people have ways of working around privacy settings.

“I wasn’t that upset about it, I was just, I didn’t want them to say bad things about me,” Wonnacott said. “I’m not mad at all.”

But is Fredette?

Fredette plays his best basketball when he’s angry, according to brother and rap artist T.J. Fredette (you can find his music at

“It’s been times where the fans are really getting on him, or there was a lot of crazy things going on before the game — a lot of trash talk and stuff like that, and he has had some of his biggest games in those types of situations,” he said. “So he’s pretty good at using his anger to focus.”

It remains to be seen if SDSU has achieved its purpose of rattling Jimmer Fredette. But did the Aztec fans cross the line?

Or, have they merely poked at it?

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44 Responses to “Wonnacott responds to SDSU’s poking”

  1. J.J. Despain on February 21st, 2011 9:37 pm

    That’s funny how Ruppel tried to make it Whitney’s fault:

    ‘”As soon as she started dating the Player of the Year candidate, she could have disactivated [sic] everything about her Facebook and we would have never had this problem in the first place,’ Ruppel said. ‘But she didn’t, and she had to learn the hard way that you got to be careful with what you put out there.'”

    But it’s also good that she’s not taking too much offense.

    I personally just don’t think these T-shirts are all that funny, no matter which team I’m rooting for. But it is fun to have a rivalry and have people fired up for Saturday.

  2. Fishtech on February 22nd, 2011 9:15 am

    BYU has never considered San Diego State a rivalry game. That’s like the Laker’s seeing the Hornet’s as their rival.

  3. Terry on February 22nd, 2011 5:58 am

    So it’s all Whitney’s fault because she 1) started dating Jimmer, and then 2) didn’t block her Facebook page?

    Immature male kids (Ruppel and buddies) trying to put the blame on someone else. “She had to learn the hard way…” One certainly hopes that they GROW UP before the graduate.

  4. Pauly P on February 25th, 2011 12:41 am

    Yea you tell em Terry! Those Aztec’s hooligans will never be able to be as mature like us and wear our awesome hats! Man i love that Jimmer Boy!

  5. jimmer on February 22nd, 2011 6:35 am

    Let SDSU and their fans focus on the shenanigans, and we’ll concentrate on handing them loss #2.

  6. Travis s on February 22nd, 2011 7:30 am

    hey I’m taking orders for these “I poked r.j. ruppel’s mom” shirts I just designed. I was actually cheering sdsu on this year….till I saw this article. you guys trying to take over the role of the most classless school in the mwc now that the utes are leaving?

    jimmer dropped 43 on you last time….this might give him enough juice for 50+. enjoy the jimmer show, Aztecs.

  7. AboveTheFray on February 22nd, 2011 8:18 am

    4th rate comments from 3rd rate students from a 2nd rate school.

  8. M Smith on February 22nd, 2011 8:45 am

    Ruppel? Okay, so imagine some person is “poking” fun either at your sister, or at your girlfriend, and being crude toward her. If you don’t get bothered it is obvious you really don’t care. Crossing the line of crude and crass simply shows us what you’re like at SDSU.

    You know what they say about bulletin board material. When a player is as good as Jimmer Fredette you don’t want to give him even more reason to beat you down. Here’s hoping that you get “Jimmered” and your team gets thrashed this coming Saturday.

    You should have known that the first time when he put up 43 he didn’t need further reason to thump your team. Now, you have made it personal. Ask Tre’Von Willis what happens when Jimmer makes something personal. I have a feeling your team is in trouble now.

  9. iraqbound on February 22nd, 2011 9:39 am

    Y’all are funny. The choice of words was tastless but y’all are letting it get to you. Its just words and if you allow words to hurt you then you are just as retarded as the person saying it. I am mormon and I had to chuckle at the commits. Take it for what’s its worth and consider the source. If the commit would have come from a player or coach ok then I see why people would be upset. The kids probably 19 and unless you forgot when you were 19 they tend to make stupid choices and say stupid things.

  10. Richard on February 22nd, 2011 9:45 am

    Ah, let the student’s at SDSU have their fun. Of course Mormons are stereotyped as are all groups that stand out. And stereotypes are always easy to poke fun at.

    To those of us out there observing all this from a distance, the San Diego State University Student body also stands out with distinct stereotypical characteristics. This is just the most recent action that goes along way in reinforcing the well known nationwide stereotype of San Diego State that for some reason they continue to attract a slug student body with total lack of any class. Sad, as San Diego is such a beautiful, great city.

  11. Jonathon on February 22nd, 2011 9:49 am

    The only thing more disturbing than this misogynistic dumb ass suggesting people take part in what amounts to internet rape is our administration’s lack of outrage to this. I hate SDSU.

    And if you think calling this internet rape is over-reacting, remember rape is using sexual threats to cause fear and intimidation. Whitney already has some admitted fear about attending the basketball game. What the hell is going on here?

    I say we boycott this game until Whitney is given campus security escort and Ruppel and Duclos are banned from the game and suspended from school.

  12. Julie on February 25th, 2011 10:28 am

    Amen Jonathon. How absurd that the administration doesn’t take some kind of action against the db’s responsible. Make an example out of them. This kind of stuff not only crosses the line, but makes the rest of us embarrassed to be a part of the show/the university.

  13. Alex on February 22nd, 2011 9:55 am

    New low for San Diego State fans. Go after Fredette, the coach, etc., but to go after a player’s girlfriend … sad…

  14. Eric on February 22nd, 2011 10:09 am

    I find it interesting – I wonder if I made a shirt that said “Hang with Me SDSU Starting 5” with say a noose and a tree… if anything would be made of it – or if it would be their fault. Just wondering….

  15. nicky p on February 25th, 2011 2:20 pm

    dark bro… I think a facebook poke is prob less extreme than that…

  16. Mike on February 22nd, 2011 10:10 am

    So mister R.J. is man enough to harass an innocent women, but too big of a pussy to take any of the heat as he has disabled his own facebook account. Classy.

  17. Kate on February 22nd, 2011 10:50 am

    Wow, RJ. Your mother must be so proud.

  18. SW on February 22nd, 2011 11:21 am

    Oooo, this could be VERY good for Jimmer & BYU this Saturday and VERY bad for SDSU’s team. Yes, Jimmer plays it cool to the media regarding shots people take at him but he does take note of those and it fires him up even more.

    Wasn’t there a UNLV player who said earlier this season something like Jimmer is “supposedly” the best player in the conference? And after getting their butts whipped by BYU at home, for the next meeting he hadn’t learned his lesson and mighty mouth fired again saying Jimmer is a ball hog and doesn’t like to pass it? Yeah, unlv lost that game too.

    If somebody harrassed my girlfreind or even worse started a movement to harrass her, that would get me even more worked up than if they taunted me. So SDSU if Jimmer puts up a big number on you this Saturday and BYU beats you again I guess you can thank your fan with the genius idea of “poking” Jimmer’s girlfriend. Anybody can see that dude’s an idiot when he tried to put some blame on her for all of this.

  19. Matt on February 22nd, 2011 1:24 pm

    SDSU fans are digging their own grave. You get Jimmer frustrated and angry and he’ll drop 40+ on you, like TJ said. As a BYU fan, I ask you to keep bothering him…in appropriate ways.

  20. Brandon on February 22nd, 2011 1:37 pm

    @Jared “WE ARE SDSU…” What do you expect from SDSU student fans? They’ve never had any class.

  21. chad on February 22nd, 2011 2:24 pm

    Thanks SDSU fans! Ask Trevon Willis what happens when you get Jimmer mad and say stupid things before the game. As a BYU Fan I could not be any happier at your thoughtless comments. Your team will pay.

  22. BYU2 on February 22nd, 2011 4:54 pm

    No class. No class at all.

  23. nicky p on February 25th, 2011 12:52 am

    We go to class all the time! What in the Heck do you know NERD!!!

  24. this Cougar on February 22nd, 2011 4:56 pm

    Not funny……….despite what they consider their”good intentions”
    SDSU students for the most part are bigots and push the boundreis of sexual harrassment. Okay for them but imagine if we did the same to Leonards girlfriend if he has one….then that type of behavior could be considered racist…

    Is Jimmer fairgame? Sure he is the best college basketball player in americ and can be prodded even by sdsu fans….but his girlfriend??? NO!

    I watched the SDSU-UNM game and heard the chants about “we want Jimmer.”

    I would even bet that Jimmer watched the game and heard the chants.

    So you guys want Jimmer??? The last few games would gotten Jimmer and got as much or more of him that you could ever want…..

    Saturday’s game will be great for both schools….may the best team win….but i suspect that the Spear will get all the Jimmer they want and more…….

    He really plays his best on the road and listening to your taunts and classless diatribes about the LDS church will push him to the points of what we at BYU expect will be an excellent game on his part as well as the rest of our team…….

    Here comes Jimmer…..ready or not!

  25. Briana on February 22nd, 2011 5:42 pm

    As a SDSU student I find this extremely offensive. Its the girlfriend’s fault who, up until now, was not in the public forum?? What kind of thinking is that?

    Ruppel is an embarrassment to our fine university. Hey idiot, get a clue.

  26. Travis s on February 22nd, 2011 7:49 pm

    stay classy san diego

    –Ron Burgundy

  27. Nick on February 23rd, 2011 12:16 am

    Hey R.J. let me have a poke at it…

    Let me start out by saying I am proud SDSU student and fan that views this whole situation as nothing short of extremely entertaining. I applaud the fact that R.J. was able to rile up BYU fans to such an extent by merely spending 5 minutes to make a facebook event. The event used no profanity, no vulgar images, and yet is being treated like it was blasphemy against the entire Mormon religion.

    Whitney, I apologize on behalf of many SDSU students if you have been truly threatened or offended by the facebook event. I know for a fact that it was never RJ’s intention to cause you harm, merely to get a laugh and spark some greater enthusiasm for the upcoming game, from both sides. From you comments in the article it seems you are taking this in stride and handling it should be handled: as a harmless joke. That being said, I do not believe that such a smart girl could have been ignorant of facebook’s privacy settings. Playing the innocent victim card doesn’t suit you well.

    “I poked Jimmer’s girlfriend” There is no denying the subtle sexual innuendo present in that statement, but it’s avoidance of blatant vulgarity and witty play on words distinguish it from all the other Mormon sex jokes out there. I for one can think of MUCH more distasteful phrases that could have been commercialized and branded on SDSU fan’s chests at the game.

    What all the BYU fans fail to realize is that by blowing this so out of proportion, you are merely prolonging R.J.’s 5 minutes of fame. Make R.J. look like a heartless asshole, make SDSU look classless, go right on ahead. All that really does is show the world that you can’t take a joke.

    They can ban the shirts from the stadium, but can they extinguish SDSU fans’ passion? Never. And can a facebook event get under the skin of one of the best NCAA players? Not a chance. But can a single student show the nation how oversensitive and insecure people can be? Yes it can.

    So BYU, go poke your nose somewhere else. S D S U AZTECS FIGHT!

  28. Andy on February 23rd, 2011 1:31 pm

    Faith and beliefs aside, I have younger sisters who I am protective of and if that type of stuff was said about her (as a means of getting into her boyfriends head or not), I would be upset about it. Wouldn’t you?

    Good luck to both teams on Saturday – should be a great game to watch.

  29. nicky p on February 25th, 2011 12:53 am

    I like this guy! he’s chill! must be the name

  30. nicky p on February 25th, 2011 12:54 am

    that was to nick, not andy….. sorry andy…

  31. Nick's Mom on February 25th, 2011 10:51 am

    I take full responsibility for my son’s obvious lack of ethical and moral discrepency. He always was our “special” child.

  32. Gators Gunna Gate on February 22nd, 2011 11:21 pm

    BYU fans… You mad!

  33. Dan on February 22nd, 2011 11:55 pm

    I’m sure this was all done out of good fun. There is nothing immature about a prank, people pull them all the time. Until you fully know the person, I don’t think anyone has the right to judge a person based on a statement made. I’m sure these young men did not mean to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings in the process. Lighten up everyone.

  34. Lucas on February 23rd, 2011 12:01 am

    BYU fans, stop talking. Maybe it was a low blow, but you guys wanna talk about class? At least 90 percent of all the shit I’ve read on this has been BYU fans. So YOU keep it classy because the way you guys are reacting to it sure as hell isn’t.

  35. Pucas on February 25th, 2011 10:54 am

    Yeah BYU FANS!!! STOP TALKING!!!! STOP IT!!!!!! Seriously… STOP!!!!

  36. The Mom on February 23rd, 2011 8:16 am

    I love my son and I am very proud of him. I also commend JF’s gf on being such a beautiful example and a great sport.

  37. Dukie on February 23rd, 2011 12:34 pm

    “They can ban the shirts from the stadium, but can they extinguish SDSU fans’ passion? Never”

    What a joke. This is the first year anyone even showed up to your home games. Don’t act like you guys are a bunch of Cameron Crazies. STDSU is a terrible school with a bunch of brain dead retards. I couldn’t care less about BYU, but you guys are still pathetic.

  38. Bob French on February 23rd, 2011 2:56 pm

    I don’t think this will get into Jummer’s head, but it did get into mine. The administration’s comments are dead on. What a shame that this is the image of this great university (at least for a week). How cowardly we must appear as we try to justify attacking this girl.
    Too sad.

  39. nicky p on February 25th, 2011 12:49 am

    obviously it got into your head bobbers u spelled Jimmer’s name wrong you silly dorkbrain. oh geeee wizz Bobbo!

  40. Chris in Korea on February 24th, 2011 3:56 am

    No class. Poor sportsmanship. Aztecs could win game on the court, but they’ve already lost it off the court. Going to college is all about getting an education – and growing up. Looks like some students have been ripped off and aren’t getting their tuition’s worth on the deal.

  41. Bob on February 25th, 2011 9:54 am

    Wow, from the comments on here, these shirts really are getting inside people’s heads! Poke away at all mormons! Down with jimmer! long live the aztec! hail all things immature and unclassy! NO HUMOR, NO FUN EVER

  42. Charlie on February 25th, 2011 10:25 am

    I like the comment “there is nothing immature about a prank” (Dan) – uh, yeah, pretty much all pranks are immature, most are somewhat mean-spiritied and usually not that funny to the person who is the object of the prank.

  43. Vickie on February 25th, 2011 11:48 pm

    Wow. What a bunch of scumbags SDSU students are. I can understand one sad little no-life blame-the-victim loser like RJ Ruppel. You can’t stop such worthless human drivel. But when so many other SDSU students come to his defense, that’s just sad. I’m so glad I left town and didn’t waste my time and money on SDSU. A pathetic student body, indeed. For tomorrow, I’m a BYU basketball fan. I will never pull for SDSU in any sport for any game ever again.

    I doubt anyone at SDSU cares that I think they’re disgusting. But then, I also doubt I’m the only one who feels this way. Congrats, classless SDSU losers; you’ve alienated lots of decent people who can’t stand bullies and white trash (of any color) like you.

  44. myfourboyz on February 26th, 2011 7:03 pm

    To all you “awesome sdsu fans” aka the show. GO POKE YOURSELFS!!!!

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