As a UK fan, this seemed a fair assessment to me. UK fans & DEFINATELY UK staffers need to learn that part of being the hottest girl at the dance is people taking shots at the shoes you have on. Don't get so worked up over every single thing. It is what it is & if that's the price to have the #1 recruiting class every year I'll pay it & smile. As long as they continue to do things right on the recruiting trail (as Parrish, to his credit, points out the have) they have nothing to worry about.
If you follow SEC basketball — or this site — then you probably remember the claim made last August by Michael O’Brien of The Chicago Sun-Times. You know the one. That the father of prospect Anthony Davis had negotiated a $200,000 deal for his son to attend Kentucky.
Needless to say, it got major play nationally. Those types of huge claims — especially when they appear in a legacy newspaper — always will. Davis was asked again about the situation last week at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Ohio.
With Davis now enrolled at UK as a freshman and questions being asked of him, CBSSports.com Gary Parrish tackled the story yesterday. Surprisingly, the fact that he dealt with the topic at all led Kentucky’s senior associate athletic director for communications to respond more like a fan and less like a professional.
John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader caught DeWayne Peevy’s Twitter posts about Parrish:
“I guess we now know one media seat that will be available at Rupp this year. BBN don’t give them what they want, your clicks! #WeAreUK”
A couple hours later he posted the following:
“Maybe tomorrow I will think better of my comments, but I’m always going to protect my kids. #WeAreUK #LaFamilia”
Okay, that’s all well and good. But in this case, Peevey’s kids really didn’t need much protection. Parrish’s post was hardly a hatchet job.
First, the title of the piece was “Fair or not, Kentucky freshman Davis must face ‘scandal.’”
Scandal was in quotation marks. “Fair or not” suggests the claims by The Sun-Times might not have been true. In fact, Parrish took an even bigger dig at those claims when he wrote:
“With whom did Davis’ father negotiate this alleged deal?
O’Brien never went that far.
His report, even if true, was thin.
But that didn’t stop the story from making national headlines.”
Seems like O’Brien would have more reason to be upset with Parrish than a senior AD at UK. Parrish, in fact, continues by quoting the player on the topic:
“I knew the truth,” he said. “I knew I didn’t take anything and I knew my family didn’t take anything. So I really wasn’t worried about it.”
Again, it doesn’t sound like Parrish is trying to take any shots at Kentucky. If Peevey or other folks in the Bluegrass State don’t think this story will be brought up again and again — just as Parrish suggests — then they didn’t pay much attention to the Cam Newton situation at Auburn or the Terrelle Pryor situation at Ohio State. When claims are made of cash or car keys changing hands, people will follow up.
Parrish was simply pointing out that that will be the case with Davis, too, and he used “the questions Davis faced in Ohio last week” as an example.
Heck, he even went so far as to post the following about John Calipari (something fans of the other 11 SEC schools don’t like hearing):
“… Davis is the only Calipari recruit to ever be publicly tied by a mainstream media outlet to a recruiting scandal before enrolling. That might surprise some given Calipari’s reputation among most college basketball fans. But the truth is that the NCAA never has charged Calipari or any of his programs with a major recruiting violation, and no major website or newspaper had ever alleged serious cheating until the Chicago Sun-Times staff writer Michael O’Brien reported last August that Davis’ father had negotiated a deal worth $200,000 to send his son to Kentucky.”
After seeing Peevey’s tweets and reading Parrish’s piece, it’s worth asking if Peevey read the story or just scanned it. He certainly seems to have overreacted on this one.
It’s one thing for a team’s supporters to misread stories assuming — and in some cases hoping — they’ll find a diss of their squad. It’s another thing altogether for a senior AD at a major university to threaten a writer’s press pass over a story that’s fairly written.
Maybe players aren’t the only ones who should have their Twitter privileges taken away.