Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt

UK Fans Angry Over Cartoon In Lexington Paper; But The Herald-Leader Isn’t Nearly As “Negative” As Some Think

Dating back to The Lexington Herald-Leader’s involvement in uncovering a major NCAA scandal inside the Kentucky basketball program in the 1980s, many Wildcat fans have viewed UK’s hometown paper as being anti-Wildcats.  The paper didn’t help its cause on that front yesterday.

On Tuesday, The Herald-Leader ran a cartoon poking fun at John Calipari’s role in ending the Kentucky-Indiana basketball series.  Naturally, the reaction hasn’t been great. 

The drawing features (as you can see below) Calipari’s trophy case.  There are two spots “vacated” referring to the Final Four seasons that were wiped away at UMass and Memphis.  There’s a large NCAA championship trophy — complete with two dollar signs on it.  And there’s another trophy marked “Lose At IU, Take My Ball And Go Home Award.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I gotta say, that’s a bit rough for a local paper.  Not the Indiana part or even the vacated banners part, but the dollar signs on the trophy.  The cartoonist — Joel Pett — says those dollar signs were a statement about the money-driven NCAA, not Kentucky.  Here’s guessing most Cat fans won’t buy that argument, but we’ll take him at his word.

Pett told WTVQ-TV in Lexington that “everyday he tries to draw about something that angers him.”  The end of the UK-IU series angered him because he is a Bloomington native, his father was a professor at Indiana, and Pett himself went to school there.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with poking a little fun at sacred cows, even if those cows happen to reside in a nearby field.  The Lexington Herald-Leader should cover Kentucky.  It shouldn’t worship Kentucky (as many fans would wish).

Sites like KentuckySportsRadio.com took immediate issue with the cartoon and the paper.  Perhaps unwisely, Pett also decided to call into their radio show today.  (Full disclosure: I’ve been on with those guys, too, and while we’ve never met, KSR’s Matt Jones is a Middlesboro, Kentucky native like myself.  I like them and I often laugh at their hugely-successful site.)

Here’s the problem I’ve got with them today, though.  While fans and fansites like KSR are outraged when someone flings a barb at their team, they see nothing wrong with doing the exact same thing to someone else.  Example: Today they posted a cartoon mimicking Pett’s style that takes aim at Rick Pitino’s trophy case.

Oh, now that’s funny.  The Herald-Leader’s attempt at humor?  Obviously those dirty, ol’, egg-sucking mules are just a bunch of hacks.

Here’s the irony.  As someone who reads every local paper across the SEC on a daily basis and does so without any team to root for… I can say that most SEC papers are very fair in their reporting.  Fans almost never see it that way, but I can think of only one paper in the SEC that repeatedly seems to be either out to help or out to hurt Hometown U.  (That would be The Gainesville Sun, by the way, and the only time you’re likely to find something negative there is if the Gators lose and the writers are angry about it.)  The Herald-Leader is home to Jerry Tipton — who Cat fans view as the devil incarnate — but it’s also home to John Clay.  Clay is quite often pro-Kentucky in his stance (though he surely got some heat this week for not gobbling up Calipari’s nonsense about “nontraditional” scheduling).

Overall, as an outsider with no dog — or cat — in the fight, I would actually list The Herald-Leader as being one of the more positive papers in the SEC when it comes to covering their local basketball team.  They also happen to cover the hell out of that team to boot.

But again, I don’t have an agenda.  If you have an agenda as a reader, you’re going to perceive an agenda in the words of a writer, whether one actually exists or not.  Trust me, I’ve been called a lover and a hater of every program in the SEC and I can’t figure out how the heck that’s possible.

Across the league, most SEC hometown papers are viewed as being too harsh, too critical and too negative toward the local heroes.  In reality, most of them produce tons of coverage and attempt to do so in an objective fashion.

The Herald-Leader probably went a little overboard with yesterday’s Calipari cartoon, yes.  But I’ve got news for Kentucky fans, as an outsider looking in, your local paper is nowhere near as negative as you believe it to be.  Then again, when you compare it to fansites like KSR that revel in talking up the Cats and beating down everyone else — even ex-coaches who brought Kentucky great success in the ’90s — there’s no way an objective paper can appear as anything but negative.

Post Comments » Comments (2)

 

 

Barnhart applauds Champions Classic, Maui Invitational

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Although UK Coach John Calipari expressed as recently as Tuesday his reservations about returning to the Maui Invitational, Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart gushed about the experience the fan base had in Hawaii Thanksgiving week.

“You literally had people talking to you, ‘I planned for four years to come’ and ‘We cashed in all our Frequent Flyer miles to come back,’ ” Barnhart said.

He noted that UK fans travel far and wide to watch the Wildcats play.

But when asked if the trip to Maui held a special place in a fan’s itinerary, Barnhart’s eyes widened and he said with a smile, “I think they really enjoyed that (trip to Maui) based on what they said. They REALLY enjoyed that.”

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Barnhart: UK hopes to buy bowl tickets for Birmingham fans

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Dubbing UK’s appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl as “Operation Thank You,” Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said the school hoped its fans would buy tickets to give children, military veterans and senior citizens in the Birmingham area.

Barnhart acknowledged that tickets sales might not be brisk for the Jan. 8 bowl in which Kentucky plays Pittsburgh.

“The date’s a little more difficult” when compared to UK’s bowl trips the past four years. “We’ve sold a few thousand tickets so far, which is good.”

“Operation Thank You” was intended to “show the players this is not about them,” Barnhart said. “This is about the (Birmingham) community.”

One woman recently bought 40 tickets for an organization named “Wounded Warriors.”

In previous bowls, UK might have thought game organizers should grateful to have Kentucky’s team, Barnhart said. “This time, it’s a privilege to be there.”

Winning will be important, too, Barnhart said. A bowl victory makes the off-season “immensely better,” he said.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Pelphrey embraces first win ‘in state’

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

John Pelphrey, one of UK’s “Unforgettables,” embraced his Arkansas team’s 71-62 victory over Seton Hall Wednesday night.

Asked if he could blockout this return to his home state, Pelphrey said, “I’d like to sit here and tell you I don’t think about it. But when you walk into the building, moments of time flash back.”

Pelphrey called the game in Freedom Hall “very humbling.”

And, he added, “the task at hand becomes even more valuable to me. I want to do well. This was the first win in state (for Pelphrey) as a head coach.”

A moment later, Pelphrey added, “It’s not about me. I had my time and my day.”

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Barnhart: One game in Louisville each season is important

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

University of Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said the men’s basketball program should continue the tradition of playing a game in Louisville each season.

“We want to continue to play over here,” Barnhart said before the Cats played Notre Dame. He noted the many alumni that live in the Louisville area and the potentially rich recruiting ground.

Earlier this week, the Kentucky State Fair Board said it paid between $10,000 and $12,000 to re-paint the Freedom Hall court blue. Spokesman Edward Brown said part of the reason was to try to entice UK to play more than one regular-season game in Freedom Hall each season.

“I haven’t had that conversation,” Barnhart said with a smile. ” . . . We do have an arena back in Lexington. We have to make sure we play enough games there.”

UK owed it to the students and city of Lexington play its home games in Rupp Arena, he said.

Last season, UK Coach John Calipari floated the idea of playing several games in Louisville as a recruiting tool. At the time, Barnhart said flatly that one game in Louisville each season was enough.

When asked if he still believed that, Barnhart said, “I think that’s probably accurate.”

But Barnhart seemed a bit more open to the idea of more than one game, if only because he did not want to rule out any possibility.

“I don’t want to pin ourselves in a corner,” he said.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Neutrality is the aim at UK-Notre Dame game

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

I just ran into Patrick Whitmer, the public address announcer at Rupp Arena for Kentucky home games. He will be doing the P.A. duties in Freedom Hall tonight when UK plays Notre Dame and Arkansas faces Seton Hall.

Whitmer said that organizers of the SEC-Big East Invitational told him to be neutral in his announcements. So there will be no references to “The greatest tradition in the history of college basketball!!!!!!” Nor will Whitmer exclaim, “Three by Knight!!!!!!”

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Cal: I’m not thinking of more games in Louisville

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Before UK played UNC Asheville in Freedom Hall last season, John Calipari lobbied for several games in Louisville each season. Such a schedule would help recruiting, the UK coach said. Later Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart noted that season-ticket holders in Rupp Arena were a priority.
When asked Tuesday about more games in Louisville each season, Calipari said, “You know what? I haven’t spent any time thinking of it.”

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

UK did not pay for re-painting of Freedom Hall court

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

The Kentucky State Fair Board paid for the re-painting of the court in Freedom Hall, according to a public relations person with the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Edward Brown said the Fair Board paid “in the neighborhood” of $10,000 to $12,000 to switch the court from University of Louisville red with a Cardinal logo at center court to University of Kentucky blue with an interlocking “U” and “K” at center court.

“It’s been in the works for some time,” Brown said. “It didn’t just occur in the last couple weeks.”

UK will be part of a double-header in Freedom Hall Wednesday night. The Cats play Notre Dame in the nightcap. Arkansas plays Seton Hall in the first game.

The games are part of the Southeastern Conference-Big East series.

The change to UK colors had produced “quite a bit of positive interest,” Brown said. “No one said, ‘Oh, no, I can’t believe they put that in there’ or ‘Shame on them’ kind of thing.”

The court trimmed in blue contrasts with the red seats in Freedom Hall’s lower seating sections, Brown said.

But there are no plans to change the color of the seats.

“No, that won’t happen,” Brown said. “Those seats are just a couple years old. They’ll stay as is.”

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

SEC names Tennessee’s Harris Freshman of Week

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

The SEC named Tennessee forward Tobias Harris its Freshman of the Week for last week.

Harris scored a season-high 21 points and made a game-high in a victory over Middle Tennessee State.

Harris also made his two three-point shots.

He leads the Vols in scoring (16.7 ppg) while ranking second in rebounding (5.8 rpg).

The SEC named Festus Ezeli its Player of the Week.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

No open practice in Louisville for UK

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

UK Coach John Calipari just tweeted saying that the Cats will not hold an open practice in Freedom Hall prior to Wednesday’s game there against Notre Dame.

It became a tradition for Kentucky to hold an open practice before its annual game in Freeedom Hall. That won’t happen.

“Unfortunately, we cannot have an open practice in Louisville,” Calipari tweeted. “It’s a neutral event and the court isn’t available until Wednesday.”

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 



Follow Us On:
Mobile MrSEC