With Love From Kentucky (Part Three)

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: April 8, 2009

Kentucky Wildcats PHILADELPHIA — For the past several days, we at BASN have been receiving numerous responses from readers due to a column by our colleague, L.A. Batchelor.

Since we always encourage a discourse here at Black Athlete, we felt it a moral imperative to share with you some views from our dissenters. Again, all responses are verbatim, and reader discretion is advised.

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 4:12 AM, <Shaggyand1717@aol.com> wrote:

you sure suck as a reporter, and please speak the truth not lies & by the way my prez is black so get off the race card homo.

Well, Shaggy – sounds like you’ve had your face up Scooby – Doo’s ass too long; and because the “prez” is Black means racism disappeared? When you come down off that corn silk high, grab some Scooby Snax, since that seems to be your idea of “brain food” – Zoiks!

On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 10:14 AM, Tia James <tiajames38@yahoo.com> wrote:

Why do you so called media always attack Kentucky? No matter what UK does or hires we always get attacked for having crazy fans, for firing a couch that was a Bob Knight waiting to happen to get Coach Cal. Were was all the negative writing when Florida fired Ron Zook to get Meyer?

The last team to win the title Kansas weren’t they under probation? Isn’t another team at the final four this year under a cloud? UCONN? How about Roy Williams he’s been linked to violations also at Kansas and Carolina. And another guy in the SEC Billy D has been accused by many other coaches for cheating at Florida? Wasn’t one of the reasons John Wooden retired early was beacuase of scandals at UCLA?

So my question to you is why not write about Calhoun and UCONN cheating? No, because nobody cares to rub their face in the dirt. Just good ol’ Kentucky.

Did you notice who got more airtime this week on the sports channels? Final Four? No, Kentucky. You want to know why.. Because when Kentucky isn’t Kentucky the basketball world suffers… Kentucky is now back and all the media is now bashing them for hiring a coach that can bring in top flight talent…

Tia, all your points on old coaches are valid; that’s the kind of discourse we want. Regarding Calhoun, rest assured if it comes out he’s funky, we won’t hesitate to jump on that. Our immediate concern was with your school’s selection, because of his notoriety and the indication that Kentucky is desperate to do what it feels it needs to do to become the Kentucky you obviously love again. ‘Moms’ used to say, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 2:19 AM, <nicjohnson@tmo.blackberry.net <mailto: nicjohnson@tmo.

blackberry.net> > wrote:

Your piece on UK and Calipari was a joke. Lol. Black athlete.com<http://athlete.com/> ?? That’s a joke in itself. Of course when I saw your picture I wasn’t surprised at all.

Ah…another Mensa candidate…

On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 12:23 AM, Gene Smith <redstone@windstream.net> wrote:

Sir,

I have read and reread your article. Amazing. I’m sure you are an excellent, objective writer convicted to reporting both facts and your subjective comments on them. That said, this particular manuscript, which was the first one I have read by you, is, hopefully, not one of your better pieces of work.

I am an outdoor writer for one of the more highly regarded outdoor publications today. I have strong opinions on certain things, primarily inhumane treatment of animals, including fish, and more so the disrespectful, inhumane treatment of people. I have learned, however, to not let my emotions explode at the expense of good journalism.

I’m not sure where you get your information. I’m not sure about Coach Calapari’s history. While I doubt it based on your slant in this piece, you could be correct in some respects. I do know, however, that the University of Kentucky is committed to graduating students, including athletes. I can assure you that no one, period, takes more care to make sure that these kids are prepared to enter the work force in a successful manner once they leave UK.

The majority of these kids do not go pro. They must mesh into society just like you and I did. By default I have had contact with the results of this commitment. So many UK athletes are currently in business in Kentucky or the surrounding areas and are successful, well educated individuals it demands respect for the job this university is doing in this respect. From the CATS program for athetes with the agressive tutoring protocol to the administration’s tougher rules for class attendance, etc, the UK program, by any standards, is committed to these kids. If Coach Calapari doesn’t confirm to the academic standards of UK I would expect President Todd to call him on it and demand compliance. Anything less would be a travesty.

No, I am not a “booster”. I graduated from Morehead State University and recieved a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Auburn University in Alabama. I have no horse in this race. And while I do like horses, I am not particularly a fan of horse shit.

This piece is disrespectful to the kids at UK working their asses off in the classroom and on the court trying to meet the demands a college athletic career places on them. If you would care to do so, take a look at the list of SEC all academic teams over the years. UK is well represented.

Several former UK athletes, including basketball players, have had fine careers in journalism, politics, and business. You make UK sound as if it were the skum of college athletics. Ignorance serves no one well.

I write to you not out of emotion, but just asking you to think about this, talk to previous players, look at their careers after UK, and reconsider your stance on this. I certainly am no expert on anything. You, on the other hand, probably are much more in tune with college athletics than most. Should you care to take a closer look and reconsider, and if time permits, please write me back at some time in the future.

Seriously, and respectfully, please take a closer look at UK athletics. It may be worth the time.

respectfully submitted,

Gene Smith, DVM

Gene, we sincerely hope a lot more UK student – athletes (who don’t get paid $5 million a year like Calipari, but do the heavy lifting) do graduate and have successful post – athletic careers; that’s exactly the point we’re making; we question the motives of the school – is this about winning games, making money and screwing student – athletes, or providing an opportunity for a handful of kids to play one year and become pro basketball players?

On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 9:59 AM, mike robbins <msrobbins2000@yahoo.com> wrote:

The U.S as a whole had a problem with Racial Discrimination but somehow you pick out one university and one state. There are definitely scars from the past, but why live life looking out the rear view mirror? I live in a city close to 1 million people and I am surrounded by diversity in this supposed hate filled state. I Have lived here for most of my life and have never defined anyone by their color,gender,etc… I know this is just my story but all of my peers have a similar story.

As far as Calapari, he did something questionable in the past but how many other coaches at major programs have 0 infractions? I am not going to defend Cal because I do not know him as a man. If he commits even the slightest infraction we will know. Since probation in the 80/90′s we have been placed under a microscope.

I honestly would love for you to come to a game sometime and you will see that it is not the 40′s,50′s,60′s anymore. Seriously, if you ever want to come to a game hit me back and I will take you to one and let you check it out.

I respect your opinion but just wanted to share some thoughts. Thanks.

Mike, we respect your opinion, too. We just didn’t pick Kentucky for Kentucky’s sake; this is a character issue revolving around a character, if you will. If word had gotten out Calipari had been hired at Arizona or Alabama, we would’ve been all over that as well.

If we ever do come down Wildcat way for a game, we’ll be happy to buy a couple rounds – and thank you for the invitation.

On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 9:50 AM, Chaz Riney <rineyc@gmail.com> wrote:

L.A., You haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about, oh, but you watched Glory Road, I guess you’re now an expert on the history of racial inequity in college basketball. Contrary to your assertions, Adolph Rupp did not was no different than any other coach at his time in the segregated south and the current attempt by organizations such as yours to ignore the real history and scapegoat Coach Rupp is dishonest–but hey what do I expect from “The Black Athlete”.

Do you know who what college basketball team was the last to have an all white final four team? UNC, 1967. I don’t hear you talking about that this weekend–of course not.

Finally, you talk about graduation rates. Divisions I athletes are given all of the resources the university can bring to bear. If they can’t manage to graduate, that’s more an indictment of current african american culture than on the universities in which they are enrolled.

Charles Riney

Charlie says, “That’s why we spent $41 million dollars for Calipari; because of an ‘indictment of current African – American culture’” – he also says he “loves that ‘Good & Plenty’” – good Nigras who can play basketball really well…and plenty of ‘em.

You probably were inspired to come to that conclusion after David Lattin dunked on Pat Riley, Louie Dampier and Larry Conley. Guess Coach Rupp found out we can autograph the ball as well; and UNC wasn’t our concern because they didn’t hire Calipari; otherwise, it would be their turn in the barrel…

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 7:46 AM, Kevin Skimmerhorn <kskimmerhorn@gmail.com> wrote:

You are a complete jackass for writing a story like this about Kentucky. I don’t care what you say about our coach, but you are singling out our state. Saying we are still a racist state and a racist basketball program. How many white players did we have on our team that actually played? 2 is how many with only 1 playing an average of 2 minutes per game. So yeah, I can see how you can say our program is racist. We didn’t have any Mexicans playing on the team, but we did have a whole bunch of African Americans.

People like you are the reason that racism is still around. You will not let anything go. It is ok for black people to hate black people. It is ok for white people to hate white people. It is ok for black people to hate white people, but if a white person does not like a black person, then it is called racism.

Just another small example: Go to a black comedians show, and watch all of the jokes about white people. You don’t see white comedians talking about black people in there show. This is an accepted practice among society. A basketball program from 50 years ago is why you call Kentucky racist? Well, I hate to tell you this, but Kentucky was not the only state that was racist during this same period.

It is time for you to grow up and let it go.

Kevin, this isn’t Amateur Hour; if you’re implying those basketball players go to Kentucky out of the benevolent motives of the University of Kentucky, I have some island property on Atlantis I’d love for you to take a peek at; any players of any color who are good enough to play anywhere deserve to be there; and they also deserve every opportunity to graduate – we’re just not sure that will happen with your new hire…

On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 9:42 AM, CORNELL CARTER <ccarter1@insightbb.com> wrote:

Mr. Batchelor,

I would first like to thank you for your contributions to the field of journalism. I think that it is great that we as black people actually have a voice in the press to express our opinions without fear of ridicule or lynchings. Anyway I wanted to point out a few things about your article. I do not disagree that the University of Kentucky or the whole entire state has a checkered past. I will point out that I am a proud black man and a proud supporter of UK atheletics. My memories of UK basketball begin in the late 80′s when UK was a cheating machine under Eddie Sutton. 1988 was a low point, but 1988 also brought in Rick Pitino as coach and UK rose to prominance again. In May 1997 pride swelled in my heart and spirit as a black man, Tubby Smith took over as coach! (He was not fired or ran out of town, he left because he wanted his son to coach with him at UK that is not allowed…this is a fact.) I guess the point I am making is I can’t understand why people are writing these articles about UK for hiring Coach Cal. HE TURNED in Camby and thus was cleared by the NCAA, UK checked this out before he was hired. I am not suggesting that Cal is clean as a whistle and wasn’t my choice to be coach, I wanted Avery Johnson. Keep in mind that UK has not had a hint of scandle in their basketball program since 1988 (21 years) and Adolph has not coached at UK since 1971.(38 years ago) So, why are you and others intent on bringing up a past that UK has worked hard to correct? Where is the outrage that Roy Williams is responsible for for Kansas being on probation? Remember the Jayhawks won the national title while being on probation. I believe that Roy Williams is the biggest pimp of black atheletes going today! Where is your article about the other pimp of black atheletes whom is involved in an investigation, Jim Calhoun. The white media is stating that Calhoun is a fighter, I say he is a cheater. I know the whispers are out there about Cal, but he has NEVER been accused of violating NCAA rules. Pitino, Williams, Calhoun, why do these pimps get a pass and they all have been accused of rule violations? Hey, just ask people in NC about Coach K’s shady tactics in Durham. UK had a black coach for ten years, he one a championship and did a great job in the community. UNC, Kansas, have never had a black coach! If Coach Cal is such a devil and cheater, why would the NCAA give UK the OK to hire him? Why hasn’t he been accused of any violations in 17 years of coaching? In my opinion we as black people should encourage our atheletes to play for HBCU’s and allow those college’s to make money instead of being pimped out to all-white U. Our atheletes are being exploited and pimped by the AAU’s and the white institutions around the USA, not just Calipari and UK. Your article would have had much more bite if you had pointed out those facts as well. Anyway sorry about the rant, keep doing your thing brother! Look forward to reading many more of your articles!

Cornel Carter (proud holder of 2 UK degrees)

Cornel, we appreciate your passion for your school, and that is the kind of dialogue we look to get from others in a discussion. Sadly, a lot of your alums don’t see it that way.

And we are just as proud of your academic accomplishments as well. You are a rare exception, making good points – and if we were in a bar, we’d be buying you a beer. That is the spirit in which we want our dialogue to flow; if you can handle it, come on in, we’d love your input. But when folks get stupid, we want them to understand, as we say in the vernacular, “we don’t play that.”

The struggle continues…