Billy Priddis, the former Ute cheerleader who in 1999 was tackled by a fan during the Utah-BYU game, is now in Afghanistan. I wrote a column about him in today's paper.
Due to space limitations, I was unable to use all the stuff he told me. Here are a few things that didn't make the print edition:
-- On his reaction when people call Utah-BYU a "war": "It doesn't bother me. I've heard people say you shouldn't compare the two, but people just don't know. That's OK."
-- On what he has been doing since 1999 and now: "This is my second deployment, first to Afghanistan. I spend 16 months in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division during the 2007-08 troop surge. I have been in the military since I graduated in 2002, so a little over eight years, give or take."
-- On whether people still ask him about the fight in 1999: "Mostly my guys just tease me about the fact that I was a cheerleader. They think it's hilarious. Since it's all over the Internet, youtube.com I still get asked about it all the time. I usually play it off. Like I said, I wish it had never happened."
-- Have you talked to your assailant (Brandon Perry) since? "I honestly don't even remember the guy's name. I'm not sure if it was ever printed in any of the papers or not. I didn't really pay much attention to it. Shortly after the incident I received a lot of phone calls, mostly from upset BYU fans. It's been a long time, so I don't remember much about it, but I did receive a call from the guy, about three or four days after the game."