Has anyone had the chance to see the Matt Barkley billboard on the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Lindbrook Drive recently? No? Me neither. No one has.
This billboard, featuring Barkley looking to the sky, was painted over early Tuesday morning. All that remains is a black background.
As USC spokesperson Tim Tessalone told ESPN Los Angeles, USC does not agree nor were they involved with the decision to cover the billboard. While the advertisement appeared in UCLA territory, UCLA claims no responsibility for the cover-up either. Regardless of who made it, however, the decision is unjustified, and only caters to bad sportsmanship on the part of UCLA fans.
The erection of the billboard in Westwood was never meant to taunt the Bruins. As Craig Kelley, an associate athletic director for marketing at USC, told the Los Angeles Times, Westwood and Lindbrook was simply a favorable location.
“We chose the … [locations] … that would work best for us at the time based on what was available,” he said.
The billboard was part of an ad campaign that projected a positive message for all athletes, and was directed at everyone—not just UCLA. The campaign included another 29 billboards which were put up in the Los Angeles area—none of which were taken down or tampered with—and another advertisement is set to go up in Time’s Square this Saturday.
“It’s a positive,” said Kelley, about the billboard’s message. “That’s really what that board is about: Finishing what you start. That crosses all platforms and all schools.”
Since USC obviously did not deface their own billboard, the responsible party remains a mystery. Naturally, some suspect that this is retaliation by disgruntled UCLA fans for USC’s 50-0 manhandling of their team.
There has also been some speculation that the company who erected the billboard, Regency Outdoor Advertising, may have chosen to take it down. Despite being Trojan alumni and big time donors to the school, flaunting UCS’s superiority in front of potential customers may be poor business practice.
Whatever the case, no party but USC had the right to cover that billboard, and no one should have covered it.