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Billboard near UCLA featuring USC's Matt Barkley is covered over

The company that owns the space makes the move a day after The Times made light of it. USC athletic department's Tim Tessalone says the university did not agree with the decision to take it down.

August 28, 2012|By Gary Klein and Baxter Holmes
  • A billboard in Westwood featuring USC quarterback Matt Barkley was covered up on Tuesday.
A billboard in Westwood featuring USC quarterback Matt Barkley was covered… (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

Matt Barkley's appearance in Westwood turned out to be brief.

A billboard not far from UCLA's campus that featured USC's quarterback was removed Tuesday by the company that owns the space, one day after The Times reported about it.

The billboard, near the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Lindbrook Drive, featured Barkley looking skyward alongside the words, "WE PLAY TO FINISH" with the LA in "PLAY" highlighted.

Several UCLA players had said the Barkley board was too close for comfort.

On Monday, USC athletic department spokesman Tim Tessalone said the billboard was "not a board to taunt" and was one of 30 in Southern California that are part of USC's "WE PLAY" branding and marketing campaign, which encompasses multiple sports and also includes bus wraps and other media platforms.

Tessalone said Tuesday that covering the billboard "was not a USC decision."

"We did not agree with or were we involved in the decision to take the billboard down," he said.

UCLA officials also denied any involvement.

"We didn't have anything to do with it," said UCLA athletics spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso.

The billboard site is owned by Regency Outdoor Advertising, a company co-owned by Brian Kennedy, a prominent USC donor. Kennedy said Tuesday the company decided to move the Barkley board to another location.

Barkley said he was unaware the billboard was going up in Westwood until "after the fact" when "someone sent it to me."

Informed that it had been covered Tuesday, he said, "I know they're up all over Southern California and I know my job is on the field, so whatever happens with that happens."

gary.klein@latimes.com

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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