With Love From Kentucky (Part Five)

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: April 10, 2009

Kentucky Wildcats PHILADELPHIA — The fallout from a column written by our colleague, L.A. Batchelor, continues to resonate among our readers.

As we continue to understand the depth and breadth of these responses, we figured that perhaps some of our readers could assist on possible misconceptions and perceptions.

Again, all responses are verbatim, and reader discretion is advised…

From: Tommy Kelley <tkelley03@hotmail.com> Date: Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 12:12 AM Subject: Hoops match made in Hell To: > Date: Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 11:58 AM Subject: The Devil and his bride are finally together…

To: labatchelor@blackathlete.com

Mr. Batchelor,

First off, I have to admit to laughing quite a bit, all while reading your article, “The Devil and his bride are finally together.” My laughter was not at the subject of your article itself, a point I will address in a moment, but rather at your poor use of the English language. You, sir, have such poor command of even simple punctuation and grammar, it make it very difficult for the reader to take you seriously. Though I suppose that such should be expected on an amateur blog site, but it still amazes me that there exist people like you that have the gall to publish such poorly written tirades. In the future, please spare yourself the embarrassment of such responses as this by taking the time to properly compose and edit the words you choose to write. Perhaps you could even take the time to educate yourself in composition before unleashing such trash on the public.

As to your article itself, once past the poor writing, I was amazed at the accusations you carelessly flung around, with absolutely nothing to back any of it up. No sources were cited, not a single factual reference was made, and it left me wondering as to what personal slight you were attempting to eradicate. It would appear to me that you simply tore into a man and a subject that you knew very little about. Simple journalistic integrity demands more. I suppose that doing your homework was too much to ask. So, in the interest of not writing such foolishness as you did, I took the time to do the grunt work. I will only refute your accusations with facts, items that one might verify. Below, you will find your words in red, and you will notice that I resisted the temptation to edit your work for the above referenced miscues and errors, as I chose instead to stick to the facts, and to educating you therein.

NORTH CAROLINA — On Tuesday, March 31st, 2009, Lucifer and his bride consummated their marriage to the sum of a eight-year, $35 million deal. The deal that Coach Calipari signed was for eight years and $31.65 million. Please see the April 1, 2009 Lexington Herald-Leader, or request a copy of the contract from the University.

That’s right, the University of Kentucky signed former UMass and Memphis men’s basketball coach John Calipari to a long term marriage to lead their basketball program back to basketball royalty.

Calipari brings a legacy of Final Four appearances to a program that hasn’t made to that kind of prominence in well over a decade.

I’m not sure what your definition of “well over a decade” is, but 11 years is a far cry from what normal folks would define as “well over”. If you will visit ncaa.com and look at the archives of past Final Four and Championship teams, you will find that Kentucky took home the title in 1998, a sum total of 11 years ago. But he also brings elements of lies, deceit, recruiting violations, a poor graduation rate of students, arrogance and anger among his peers. Again, you site no source for any of these accusations.

This actually works for Kentucky because of their history of racism, exclusion and elitism.

I must point out to you that Kentucky has ties to several folks that have made great steps to eliminate racism. Sure, you can site Adloph Rupp as your source of racism in Kentucky sports, but I challenge you to gather some hard facts before doing so. In the mean time, let it be known the following. At Kentucky, C.M. Newton, a UK alum and later the A.D. at UK, recruited and signed the first black basketball player at Transylvania University, where he was coach, in 1957. He went on to hire Rick Pitino at UK, and Pitino made Bernadette Locke-Maddux an Assistant Head Basketball Coach. Maddux was one of the first female African Americans to hold such a position at a major Division I school. She also went on to become the Head Coach of the school’s women’s team. She was also a pioneer among her peers in holding such a position. (See ukathletics.com for verification.) Kentucky was also coached by Orlando “Tubby” Smith for a decade. He was one of the first African Americans to lead such a storied program. How then, does UK deserve your branding as a racist institution? As for elitism, Kentucky is an elite program. They do, after all, lead the NCAA in wins. More than any other school, according to ncaa.com. I guess you can say this is a match made in…………………….

HELL!

Those at ESPN (Which stands for the Evil Sports Prick Network) like Dick Vitale, Digger Phelps and others would lead you to believe the hiring of Calipari is “The Best Fit” for Kentucky.

For me, the question is what does “The Best Fit” actually mean?

What is it that leads you to attempt comedy in “renaming” ESPN? And, how did you miss Steven A Smith on ESPN’s SportsCenter, at 6pm on March 31, 2009, as he echoed the same sentiments? I find it ironic that he was excluded from your list of ESPN personalities that voiced the opinion that Calipari was a good fit. Did you exclude him because he, too, is an African American, and that would demean your argument?

If it means Kentucky wants a coach with one of the lowest student basketball athlete graduation percentages in the country, then he is the best man for the job. To quote Coach Calipari, from his introductory press conference on April 1, 2009, a transcript of which is available at ukathletics.com, in regards to his track record of graduation rates at UMass and at Memphis, “Mitch talked a lot about wins and this and that. He forgot to tell you I got fired in New Jersey. They never bring that up very much. But let me tell you, for me, we took over UMass. And I hope Bob Markham is down here, I don’t see him, but I hope he is. He was our athletic director. When we took20over, there was a 15% graduation rate. When we left, it was 80%. At the University of Memphis when we took over, it was a zero percent graduation rate. For six years, no one had graduated. Mitch had mentioned 19 of our last 22 seniors will have graduated in May. It’s important to me.” I believe that is quite enough said.

If it means Kentucky wants a coach who only recruits players who have great athletic ability, but poor academic ability, sign him up.

Again, quoting Coach Calipari from the same press conference. “I met the team this morning. I said, If you don’t go to class, if you don’t want to do the tutorials, if you don’t want to treat people right, we will meet when I come back and we’ll figure out where you’re gonna go. I wasn’t mean about it. I was matter of factly, that’s how we do things.” Again, enough said.

If it means Kentucky wants a coach who will make promises of success but leave the program before the high expectations are finished while also leaving the program filled with scandal, animosity, player departure and transfers, he’s the guy.

Please, then, let me know where you got this information, and back it up. If Final Fours and playing in the title game, leaving behind one of the most heralded recruiting classes in the country, and moving on to a better position are such dire sins, explain to me how its supposed to work.

If these are20the attributes Kentucky seeks, THEN JOHN CALIPARI WAS CLEARLY THE BEST CANDIDATE TO BE THE NEXT WILDCAT MEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH.

Lets take a look at Calipari’s college basketball career and trail of NCAA violations:

UMass: The Minute Men rose to prominence during the 1995-96 season when they were ranked No. 1 and made a run to the Final Four only to see it tarnished after it was reported that Marcus Camby took $40,000 from an agent.

Citing Mike Decourcy; “An asterisk can’t ruin UMass’ Final Four dream“, “The Sporting News”, June 9, 1997, the actual amount taken was $28,000. And it is worth pointing out that the NCAA never implicated, nor had reason to believe that Coach Calipari had any knowledge of this violation.

It led to Calipari’s quick exit out of UMass to the south to take on another program with a history of scandal — Memphis (formerly known as Memphis State), who had their own scandal and violations back in 1985.

Your liberty with the facts is laughable at this point. Did you miss that Calipari left UMass to coach the New Jersey Nets of the NBA? It was only after his dismissal from the Nets that he went south to Memphis. Apparently, you are either very uneducated in your history, or have chosen to edit reality to fit your little agenda.

The Tigers’ basketball program turned=2 0in paperwork Thursday to report a possible minor NCAA violation after learning that Dave Bronczek, the president/CEO of FedEx and a prominent Tiger booster, placed a phone call to an employee whose son is being recruited by the school.

Though a FedEx spokesman said the call was “congratulatory” in nature and Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson characterized it as an “innocent mistake,” boosters are prohibited by the NCAA from having contact with recruits or their parents.

Calipari said he had no knowledge that Bronczek was planning on making the phone call. Yeah ok. I guess he had no knowledge of Marcus Camby taking $40,000 from an agent too.

Now, he goes to a school with a pedigree of racial discrimination, hate, violations and scandal. A school that has a past of inequality and injustice that represents a state that supported the very same practice.

That’s ok for Calipari. He is like the medicine man going city to city with tap water, pretending to heal the sick only for the citizens to find out he or she was a fraud after he moved on to another city filled with more suckers.

Again, you cite no sources, nor provide anything to back your claim up. And you admit yourself that Calipari had no knowledge of the situation. Your opinion carries so little weight as to what is and is not known that it is a waste to type in, and accomplishes nothing more than to solidify the opinion that you are pushing a sad little agenda with=2 0little real substance.

He is the attractive man or woman you meet and fall in love with, only to find out the time you spent with them that felt so magical, was actually a one night stand or a short term feeling of passion…..on their part.

He cares about his success, his family and his money at the detriment of the black athlete that cares about the same things but is prohibited from those things unless he eventually left college to “play for pay”.

So if you are a school/university that wants the “quick fix”, the glits, glamour, the marquee name and a coach that cares more about kids with a basketball in their hands rather than a book, then Calipari, or other coaches like him are the best qualified for you which is very evident the Wildcats when making this shady person their leader of men.

Again, you offer nothing other than your meager opinion to back this up. No quotes from his former players, nothing from his former administrators, nothing of substance to allow you to make this pathetic argument.

In closing, it is evident that you have a grudge against Coach John Calipari, and against the University of Kentucky, but you never bothered to give any insight as to why. What slight, real or perceived, are you trying to do battle over? Where does your integrity stand after liberally bashing a man with nothing other than your own personal prejudice? I must enlighten you that it is such trash as you have20published that make it hard to take your cause, which appears according to your sight to be the advancement of the black athlete, seriously. It makes a fool out of both you and your cause. Please, back up what you say. If you have no facts, then exercise restraint from casually tossing a man’s reputation and that of a University around. Journalistic integrity was tossed aside much the same with the creation of blogs such as the one you write for, and with free speech, you may write whatever you wish. But it is a higher standard that one must hold to in order that he or she can ever be taken as a serious voice. Otherwise, you become a punch line, and a joke. I encourage you to find your real voice, one of integrity and of honor. Hold yourself accountable for your words. I had nothing to gain by providing you with this insight on your own composition, but I did so in an effort to show you how misguided it really is. Do the homework. Do the research. Dig in, and give us something better. Something worth the read. Otherwise, the time you spend writing, and the time spent reading whatever you put forth, is wasted.

Cheers and good luck,

Mike Whitaker

First we recognize the error – $31.65 million in the contract – so noted. There is no personal prejudice here; if anything the opinion was offered more as a public service and warning than anything you’ve attempted to surmise. And actually, the best candidates for the UK job unfortunately went elsewhere: Grant to Alabama, Miller to Arizona – one white, one Black, and both great coaches and choices. You guys made your choice – now live with it. At UMass a situation arose, there was money taken, and if Calipari says he doesn’t know, then he’s not on top of the situation; if he did know he got out and left UMass, Bruiser Flint & company holding the bag. Anytime a crime cartel like the NCAA takes money away from a school, something very fucked up had to happen. Since numbers seem to be a big thing with you Mike, take this one with you – 25; the percentage of students graduating under John Calipari (courtesy of NCAA.com).

And the beat goes on (Whispers’ version)…