By LARRY VAUGHT
You would think I would know to never be surprised by the passion/logic of Kentucky basketball fans … but got to admit two things in the last 18 or so hours did surprise me.
First, after Kentucky rallied to win at Arkansas, friends told me the first call that Ryan Lemond got on the Kentucky Sports Radio postgame show was from a fan questioning John Calipari’s moral stance for getting thrown out of the game and trying to manipulate officials into making more favorable calls. The caller apparently felt that was setting the wrong example for athletes.
Next, Sunday morning at church — and I was on time since for the first time in about 18 years there was no Sunday Morning Sports Talk on WLAP to occupy my time — the elder doing the invitation to giving before our offering reference how Calipari said for his team to be its best, every player had to do its best and it was the same for a church when it came to giving. The minister later even complimented her for the “John Calipari reference” that was well received in church — except for one person who took exception and left.
Come on folks, it’s just basketball.
Kentucky fans mainly were really irritated with the postgame caller based on responses I got on Twitter when I asked about it.
“Yes dude was a total crank! He was like Cal is a master manipulator blah blah blah & he’s a bad example for the teams morals blah blah blah. He sounded like he had a stick up his …..” one person posted.
“It was a shot at Cal. The guy misses the way Joe B. (Hall) coached the game,” another fan tweeted to me.
“He said Cal owes an apology to his players and all UK fans. ￼ He did it for the team and us all and we loved it!” a third fan noted.
One person did post that the caller had “some valid points” in his criticism of Calipari getting thrown out of the game and “working the officials in different ways as not completely straightforward” with his rant.
“I don’t think Cal would have been offended,” the fan noted. “I didn’t agree with him (the caller) but agreed he had a point and point of view, from a moral standpoint actually. He didn’t think Cal should ‘work’ the refs, that it was wrong to try to get an angle on them.”
Just not sure I can go with it being “morally wrong” for a coach to get upset with officials and end up getting ejected. It happens. This time it seemed to inspire the Cats but the players still had to make shots and play defense to win.
As for the church reference, still not sure how that was not a valid point and one I appreciated hearing in church.
But only in Kentucky could a coach get questioned for being “morally wrong” to get thrown out of a game and a worshiper get upset to a UK basketball reference about everyone needing to be his best for the team to be its best.