This year, Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington has a new look. A video ribbon board wraps around the upper deck of the stadium… just as others do at most large stadiums in the country. The video boards run some “fire ‘em up” messages during games, but their prime mission is to deliver advertisements.
Well, the new ribbon at Kentucky replaced a Ring of Honor that once listed the names of 45 ex-UK greats from Bear Bryant to Tim Couch. And that’s not sitting well with some of the guys whose names were on that wall.
Sam Ball: “I feel like me and the other 40-plus football players that paid the price to build Kentucky’s football program and paid the price to be Wildcats are now just about forgotten. It’s almost disrespectful.”
Mark Higgs: “(It) was like a slap in the face. Now, they’re advertising Coke and putting on a laser show. It’s terrible, just terrible.”
Joe Federspiel: “You see your name, see all the good players who have played at the University of Kentucky, it’s a real honor. What they’ve done now is sort of a slap in the face to former players.”
Wow. Now maybe UK did step out of line by taking down the Ring of Honor. If nothing else, the school dropped the ball by not alerting the ex-Cats honored on the wall that their names were coming down. But shouldn’t these players let someone else do the complaining for them?
Not all schools have a Ring of Honor. So from the get-go it was a nice gesture on the part of UK. Nowhere is it written that a few ex-Cats must have their names on the wall at Commonwealth Stadium.
A slap in the face? Really?
This is just my take, but even if I felt that way, I’d leave it to someone else to say it. It strikes me as being a bit arrogant for anyone to say, “Hey, I want my name on the stadium!”
Kentucky officials point out that they have posted the names on flags around the stadium and twice per game they show the names on the video ribbon board.
Apparently that’s just not good enough. We expect to see a new Ring of Honor created somewhere else inside the stadium by next fall. The only way to quiet bad press like this is to yield to the complaints.