AJ McCarron is on the verge of leading Alabama to its third consecutive national title. His run has also raised the prominence of his girlfriend, Katherine Webb, and to a different extent, his mom, Dee Dee Bonner.
We caught up with the woman who gave a different meaning to red — not Crimson — in gaining a gathering on social media. Dee Dee’s doing pretty well on Twitter, too, with more than 11,000 followers. She tells us about her relationship with Katherine Webb and the story behind how those photos of her in the dazzling red dress went public.
Q: You’ve raised a son every parent would like to call their own. Every game he dons a bow tie for a different cause. What did you do to instill such qualities?
It’s just been our lifestyle to try and give back where we can. I have been heavily involved with charities for as long as I can remember and I think just seeing that as they (my boys) were growing up it just became a part of who they are – we are as a family. They were raised to give back and do for others when you can because as bad as things may seem there is always someone worse off.
We believe in the power of prayer and in this generation of social media a simple posting of a picture with AJ wearing a bow tie for someone or a post on his fan page can actually have a lot of people praying for someone or a family. That one post or picture can bring awareness to a cause – bring a smile to someone’s face – or just serve as a reminder of how blessed we truly are. Life is so much more than football, and I think that’s the message we all hope to pass on.
Q: What do you think when you see AJ on the verge of a third straight national championship but nobody gives him much of a shot in the Heisman race? And how does he really feel about it?
AJ will take another national championship over the Heisman in a heartbeat. He wouldn’t blink his eyes. He’s never really been one about individual awards. He would much rather win a team award that everyone could share in. To say we are proud of him is an understatement. We are so very excited for this journey he is on. This team has accomplished so much, and the guys that came in with AJ will leave having left their mark on not only the history of football at Alabama but hopefully in NCAA history as a team that was able to threepeat. Credit or not given to AJ – we know what he has done and more importantly has left to do. So we look forward to seeing the future play out.
Q: Describe your relationship with Katherine. And to clear up the confusion, what is the status of her relationship with AJ?
Katherine, or Kat as I call her, is the sweetest, most precious and beautiful person. I love her to death. She and AJ are doing great, and I consider her and I very close. I love her with all my heart and can’t wait to share many more years with her.
Q: How shocked were you when her profile blew up during the BCS Championship Game? And were you flattered or put off by Brent Musburger’s comments?
Nothing really shocks me anymore with social media. I thought it was funny how it blew up – all because a girlfriend went to watch her boyfriend play a football game. Mr. Musburger’s comments were not at all insulting in my opinion. At my age being called beautiful is appreciated! LOL.
Q: What’s it like when you two sit together at games on the road?
We talk and laugh, she always sits next to me and now she has learned how I am at games so she will calm me down if I see AJ take a hit or shove that I feel is late. She laughs at me and my comments because the Momma Bear comes out so she just holds my hand and will say “He’s OK” or “It’s OK,” and then we both start laughing.
Q: How much of his athletic ability does AJ get from you?
If you ask AJ he will say he gets most of it from me … ha ha. His dad might not want to hear that but …. I am cracking up laughing as I say this. Tony was athletic, but I do believe that I am the more athletic of the two of us. And AJ looks just like me, except he’s a lot taller, so he must get it all from me.
Q: Loaded question: Nick Saban or Bear Bryant?
Wow, I can’t believe you did this to me. I think both coaches are true legends and the best coaches of their generations. I am going to go with Coach Saban because I am able to see him and his interaction with the players and what he really tries to instill at the University of Alabama through their football program. He really does want his players to learn to do the right thing, the right way, all the time. And this is both on and off the field. What him and (his wife) Mrs. Terry do for these players and for the community makes me so proud to say my boys play at Alabama. I wouldn’t want them anywhere else.
Q: You’ve gotten into a couple of Twitter battles with fans. How hard is it to hold back and not react like a protective mom when you see something you disagree with?
I have gotten so much better at this believe it or not! Ha ha. It is very hard to read a comment that can be very crude and hurtful, especially when they seem to attack your child and do not know him at all. I can understand and even appreciate constructive criticism. After all, that is how we learn to be better – even if it’s hard to hear. However, the attacks made by some people you know that they’ve have never played D1 football, possibly never played a sport in their life, can be hard at times to take. So I have been known to tell a few people to stick to playing Xbox.
Q: You’re becoming pretty famous in your own right on the Internet. What do you think when you Google yourself and see all those photos of you in a bikini or in that red dress that so many seem to admire?
At first it was very upsetting. The pictures were stolen from my personal account a few years ago. Pictures of us with friends at a Mardi Gras ball and pictures of us out on a boat taken and posted all over was shocking. But over the years I have learned to ignore the comments and posts. When I was upset the boys just said to me, ‘Ma, you are beautiful don’t worry about it. If you were some ugly old hag no one would even care.’ So now a sign on GameDay doesn’t bother me. The rude comments are just ignored. Besides those pictures are from years ago, and I am aging by the minute. So it’s all good.
Q: If you’d worn that red dress to the BCS Championship Game, do you think Brent Musburger would have needed CPR in the broadcast booth?
Ha ha ha. I am not sure, but I can tell you I won’t be trying it to test his reaction.