Shed a tear and say a prayer for Kansas, everyone. The school has been through so much.
Nobody has been victimized by unscrupulous characters, bad business dealings and overzealous investigators like the Jayhawks. Now, add rogue rappers to the list of perpetrators.
Did you see what that duplicitous Snoop Dogg did Friday night at “Late Night in the Phog” at historic Allen Fieldhouse? Did you see the way his road crew somehow snuck stripper poles past everyone and set them up on the court? Did you see how the scantily dressed women scaled them and swung around, legs spread wider than a Kansas wheat field? Did you see Mr. Dogg take a money cannon and fire fake $100 bills — featuring a picture of his face and marijuana leaves — around the place, including in the direction of the Kansas players?
Whoops, said Kansas athletic director Jeff Long.
"We made it clear to the entertainers' manager that we expected a clean version of the show and took additional steps to communicate to our fans, including moving the artist to the final act of the evening, to ensure that no basketball activities would be missed if anyone did not want to stay for his show,” Long said. “I take full responsibility for not understanding what acrobatic dancers are in today’s entertainment world and offer my apology to anyone who was offended. We strive to create a family atmosphere at Kansas and fell short of that this evening.”
“Acrobatic dancers” at a Snoop Dogg show. Poles set up on-court. Can’t believe this didn’t turn out to be the Bolshoi Ballet.
Hold a vigil for Golly-Gee Jeff Long, conned by the manager who scripted the soft-core porn show instead of the clean show.
HOW could Kansas have seen this coming? When it signed up Snoop — who has done prison time, but did beat a murder rap — as its entertainment for the annual “Late Night” event start to basketball season, who could have foreseen that this might not be an event approved by Disney, or the NCAA?
“I didn’t know there was going to be anything like that,” said coach Bill Self, the active college sports leader in I Didn’t Know statements.
“Late Night” was an important public moment for Kansas hoops, coming just 11 days after the school was hit with a severe Notice of Allegations from NCAA Enforcement. There were Level I allegations made against the school for payments by Adidas reps to players and for a lack of institutional control. The penalties could be huge.
The school’s vigorous response to that NOA was a clear signal that it will fight the charges tooth and nail. Victim U., as Kansas has proclaimed itself since becoming embroiled in April 2018 in the federal investigation of college basketball, was being wronged by those jack-booted thugs from Indianapolis.
“While we will accept responsibility for proven violations of NCAA bylaws, we will not shy away from forcefully pushing back on allegations that the facts simply do not substantiate,” said Kansas president Douglas Girod. “We stand firmly behind Coach Self and our men’s basketball program, and we will continue to work diligently to do what is right.”
But for some silly reason, people on the outside of the Lawrence Virtue Bubble see a university that might be a wee bit tone deaf, if not outright impenitent. Exactly four days after receiving the NOA, Kansas put out a video announcing Snoop as its “Late Night” entertainment. The video featured Self strutting into a music store wearing gold chains and an Adidas basketball shirt, with a logo visible from space.
Adidas, of course, is the shoe company that victimized Kansas. In early April, Adidas employee James Gatto agreed to pay the school about $200,000 for his role in the scandal — which is less than the $1.1 million pound of flesh Kansas sought, a dollar figure that would ruin the mid-level executive financially. A couple weeks after that settlement with Gatto, Kansas agreed to a $196 million re-upping with Adidas.
Combine the money grab with Self’s Adidas billboard of a T-shirt, and some outside the Lawrence Virtue Bubble have formed this crazy, certainly misguided notion that victimhood is a scam, and the Jayhawks are sneering at the NCAA. It takes a real cynic to see things this way.
And now this. Snoop turns The Phog into a pseudo-strip club, and people somehow misconstrue it as a celebration of Kansas’ new outlaw status? How can that possibly be when the Jayhawks were so obviously harmed by people working very hard to send them some of the best basketball players in the world?
Can you believe some people failed to see the humor in it all? Like, people connected to the coaches and former Adidas reps who were found guilty and are either in jail or likely on the way soon.
“Gross, insensitive, hypocritical and disgusting,” said attorney Craig Mordock, whose client, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, is serving a prison term after being found guilty of “victimizing” schools (like Kansas) in the college basketball corruption scandal. “Any negative adjective you want to apply to it is justified.”
“Any idea they were victimized by a middle manager at a company they signed a $196 million marketing deal with about two months later is ridiculous. Then to come back and thumb their nose at the people convicted in this case, the U.S. Attorney's office, the judges, the FBI the NCAA and the people involved in this case defies credulity.
“If they were truly the victim, you'd expect a certain level of decorum from them. Not ‘let's shoot money out of cannons and have stripper poles.’”
Attorney Steve Haney, who represents Christian Dawkins, added: “It shows you how serious they're taking it. It's really offensive they would do something like that when three men are going to prison. I was as shocked as anyone was when I saw it. … They're basically spitting in the face of the Southern District of New York, the judge and jury.”
Seeing the Snoop spectacle coming was every bit as difficult to foresee as any problems associated with making T.J. Gassnola part of the Kansas recruiting effort. Who could have guessed that Gassnola was spraying money — real money, no pot leaves on it — to people connected to Kansas basketball players? He admitted in federal court to paying off the mother of Billy Preston and the guardian of Silvio De Sousa.
T.J. was text buddies with Self, who encouraged him to “get a couple real guys” in his role as an Adidas consultant. Or middleman. Or, let’s call him what he was, a bagman. How is it possible that Gassnola, an AAU scammer from the Northeast who comes across like he just earned a mobster learner’s permit, was a wolf in Adidas clothing?
If you can’t trust him to “get a couple real guys” within NCAA rules, who can you trust?
This is why times are tough in Lawrence. A school so trusting, so naive, and this is their reward.
For those who will sit on the Committee on Infractions panel and hear the case of NCAA vs. Kansas, sometime in 2020, let’s sincerely hope that this whole “Late Night” burlesque show is seen for exactly what it was. Further victimization of poor, poor Kansas.
It wasn’t the school showing its ass. Just the “acrobatic dancers” on the stripper poles.
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