Taken at face value, the photograph of a Longhorn with its horns down is a Bum Steer, and not just in the literal sense.

According to the University of Texas alumni magazine the Alcalde, which found the photo on a UT football fan message board, what you’re looking at is a Longhorn owned by a Texas A&M alumnus, who, over time, deliberately weighed down its horns to create a live-action version of the UT-bashing reverse “Hook ’Em” sign.

And if that’s not bad enough, the poor abused animal was scheduled to be trotted out on Kyle Field at halftime of the (maybe) final UT–A&M game on Thanksgiving.

Except that by the Alcalde’s own admission, nobody was sure if any of that was true, from the actual circumstances of the use of horn weights to the halftime rumor. That didn’t stop more than three hundred people from commenting on the Alcalde’s post. The traffic also took their site down for a brief time Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the intrepid reporters at the Daily Texan went and got a fuller version of the story. Texas A&M spokesperson Jason Cook assured the paper that the university had no knowledge of the animal and that it certainly wouldn’t be part of the halftime show (which, as many Aggie commenters acknowledged, isn’t exactly known for being tongue-in-cheek).

And while a College Campaigns for PETA representative argued in the Texan that the steer would likely be in pain, Laura Standley of Texas Longhorns Trails magazine felt otherwise. This was confirmed by no less an authority than Bevo’s owner, John T. Baker, in a follow-up published by the Alcalde on Thursday.

“It doesn’t hurt the animal, and it can be done for aesthetics or for a functional purpose,” he said.

So it seems the Bum Steer here is not the owners of the animal or the takers of the picture, but rather, everybody who helped make the picture famous. Though on the bright side, given “Saw Varsity’s Horns” off, this all could have been much worse.