DESTIN, FL (WVUE AND WAFB) - Monday through Friday, Don Bass is the Chief Criminal Deputy at the Hancock County Sheriff's Department in Mississippi. However, on the weekends, it is all about LSU Football.
Last weekend he was in Destin for a wedding. When dinner and game time arrived, he headed to a popular spot; Harry T's.
"We were told, 'come around 8. Business would be less and could fit y'all in,'" said Bass.
But when he arrived, with an LSU hat on his head, Bass says the Tigers/Gators rivalry was in overdrive.
"We went to the front door and I was told by the greeter, 'LSU fans aren't allowed in here.' But I laughed it off, I thought it was just because of the rivalry. They had the game on all the TVs and I said, 'well, let me go to the back, we're meeting some people here.'"
Inside, Bass found a group of Florida alumni hosting a watch party, so he headed to the deck, looking for a spot for he and his friends.
"We went to the back and there were some tables available there in the back and I called our friends and said hey they have some tables here and they said were at Margaritaville now and again I was approached and told LSU fans aren't welcome here," said Bass.
A little shocked, Bass left and met his group down the road. But he couldn't shake the lack of hospitality from Harry T's staff, so he dropped them a line.
He received an email in return from manager Nick Empson, explaining the Florida Alumni Association had dibs on the restaurant, and saying, "LSU does not carry a good name here at Harry T's. We've had LSU 'fans' physically attack a few members of staff. You must understand our trepidation in hosting your university."
The second in command of the sheriff's office says he's not heading back.
"A lot of people feel that way, but I'm not sure what they were thinking or how they run their business. But it didn't seem like a good choice," said Bass.
When asked for a response today, a Harry T's manager said they did nothing wrong. The restaurant has since gone to Facebook, attempting to explain why LSU fans were banned. The post got an explosion of comments from hundreds of people across the SEC. Most of them vowing never to return to Harry T's. That post was followed by an apology.
"It was just a misunderstanding between one of our staff members and one of our fans and it got blown out of proportion on both ends and our staff member made a mistake," said Jamie Marie Hall:
In an attempt to make amends with LSU fans, the restaurant is holding a watch party this weekend for the LSU vs. Western Kentucky game. They say they'll donate 50 percent of the proceeds, including a $2,000 donation to an LSU scholarship fund, and everyone in purple and gold will get a free drink. But many fans on Facebook, including Bass, say the damage is already done. The Florida Gators have a bye this weekend.