May 22, 2009
Calipari is referring to ESPN's Pat Forde, whose name he probably knows how to spell but decided to get intentionally incorrect as a sign of disrespect. Coaches love to do that. James Joyce could reincarnate, write a brilliant, semi-harsh and completely indecipherable piece about a college basketball team, and that team's coach would find a way to pretend he had no idea who "this so-called writer" was. Oldest trick in the book, and also completely bush-league. You don't get to John Calipari's position by not knowing the names of national sportswriters.
Anyway, knowing the more extreme factions of the UK fan base, one could only assume some serious Big Blue anger was headed Forde's way. (The reaction was more restrained than I would have imagined.) But why? What did Forde do? Apparently, an interview on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" is what had Calipari all riled up -- specifically where Forde discusses Calipari's past recruiting black marks and his bond with shady relationship man William Wesley (which happens at the 2:10 mark):
Not to get all defensive on Forde's behalf, but Calipari is playing things a bit dirty here. It's Forde's job to discuss this stuff. The points he's making -- that UK has changed its stance on Calipari's past in as they've become more desperate to win; that Calipari is at least someone who deserves close monitoring when it comes to flouting NCAA rules -- are valid ones. They're inherent to the discussion of Calipari's hiring. Not mentioning them would be dishonest.
Calipari can react to that as petulantly as he wants. He can whip his Twitter followers into a frenzy, if he feels that way. But if he didn't want to have his name attached to recruiting violations, he shouldn't have been so apparently careless at UMass. If he doesn't want to deal with the questions, he should work even harder to prevent them. There have to be better ways of doing so than lashing out in 140 characters or less.