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After Buck-I-Guy embarrassment, Big Nut offers perspective

By David Briggs • May 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Ohio State football fans have spent a lot of time rolling their eyes lately, a little at Michigan’s nationally lampooned European Vacation but mostly at one of their own.

You know him as Buck-I-Guy, the caped, cowboy-hat-wearing fanatic known to move heaven, earth, and, in one case, a player’s mom, if a TV camera — or memorial service — is near.

For those just joining us, the man, John Chubb, made a recent celebration of Ohio State coach Earle Bruce’s life all about No. 1, attending the event at St. John Arena in full garb and later signing his name on a photo marked for former players and coaches meant as a family keepsake.

Turns out, Superfan’s kryptonite is self-awareness — of which we’ve seen more from dogs barking at their reflection in the mirror.

The antics not only inspired irate ex-players to blot out the signature but 5,300 autographs and counting on a petition to ban Buck-I-Guy from campus and reproach from his costumed peers.

“I definitely do not condone his actions,” Jon Peters told me the other day. “Totally out of line and wrong.”

Peters is better known as Big Nut, his face-painted, flair-accessorized alter ego who has become perhaps the school’s most recognizable supporter.

In the spirit of equal time — and with the conceit of super fandom under attack — I reached out to the 57-year-old Fremont man. His message to Buckeye Nation: Don’t judge a nut by his shell. “It’s unfair to group us all together,” he said.

Fair point. Look, I don’t know the know the Buckeyes’ other super fans, nor do I understand the schtick. But that’s just me. I’ll note here I’ve found Peters to be a decent man who came about his devotion to the Buckeyes honestly and has used it for much good.

A routine that began in 1995, when he painted his face to win a basket of cookies as the best-dressed Buckeyes fan at a local OSU-Michigan fundraiser has since assumed a life of its own. Through the means gained by his regular appearances at fundraisers, Peters, a materials handler at Whirlpool, has awarded scholarships to Ohio State-bound area students since 2011 and last year launched the Big Nut Scholarship Fund. He donated $51,000 to the university’s endowment fund.

You should see the guy around children too. Peters lights up the room.

He has nothing against Chubb, who, for the record, he has seen do good, too. He said simply, “I try to go to that extra mile to make sure I never set a bad example.”

“We all have a responsibly as Buckeye fans, not just super fans,” Peters said. “When somebody remembers the name Big Nut, I want them to remember him as a class guy, a good fan. That’s why we do our scholarship program. There are more things in life than painting your face and going to football games. It’s priceless to watch your team win, but it’s not about being a super fan. It’s about being a super humanitarian.”

Who said these nuts have no perspective?

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©2018 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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