Doug Gottlieb is a smart guy. He knows what he’s doing. In fact, all the talking heads at ESPN and CBS and throughout the sports media world know exactly what they’re doing. At this point, they know that any slight or out and out misstatement against the University of Kentucky, specifically the men’s basketball team, will result in a fired up Big Blue Nation. Which, in turn, will result in what every internet writer longs for: page views.
Insult/slight the Big Blue Nation. Wait for the uproar. Sit back and wait for the page view counter to keep track of all those hits. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
But what if there wasn’t a response from the Big Blue Nation? What if the stories slandering head coach John Calipari and the Wildcats didn’t produce the fervor that the writers expect?
Big Blue Nation, it’s time to stop paying attention to these people. Listen, I’ll be the first person to say that Coach Cal isn’t perfect or that every athletic team will go undefeated. But when people seemingly go out of their way to make absolutely ridiculous proclamations regarding the Cats, they show their true colors.
And, once again, they know what they’re doing. The thing is, I generally like Doug Gottlieb. I don’t always agree with his point of view of most things, but he’s usually got a substantial basis for his ideas. And saying that the Wildcats are the seventh best team in the nation because they lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris isn’t one of them. While it’s totally fair to say that the new kids in Lexington and veterans like Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein have some work to do to demand the hype, based on talent alone this team is a top-5 team. To say otherwise, well, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
It’s been well documented on how and why Gottlieb left the University of Notre Dame. And while, I’ve tweeted a time or two about it and made some jokes, I’m not going to rake a man over the coals for a bad decision he made over 20 years ago. Especially when he publicly apologized to the people his poor choices hurt the most. I have a lot of respect for that. However, constantly taking cheap shots at Coach Calipari and/or UK is beneath him. He’s got to be a better voice in the sports world than to take the low road with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.
Kentucky fans, it’s time that we, as a Big Blue Nation, finally turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to those that purposefully and willfully try to get a response from us. Nothing that Gottlieb or Jeff Goodman or Pat Forde or Pete Thamel say takes away one win. Their words don’t take down one banner or taint any of the good memories that we collectively have regarding the Wildcats. When you’ve been this good for this long, as the kids say, haters are gonna hate. It’s up to us to remember to not let anyone steal our joy.
Ignore the baseless hate and internet trolls and, hopefully, they’ll just go away.