Make no mistake about it. The Big Blue Nation is without a doubt the best fan base in college athletics. And it is probably the most vocal of all fanbases on the internet. While I love the passion, I admit that Kentucky does have a “lunatic fringe faction” that is very vocal on social media and well, as a result, let’s national writers use them as a representation of the whole Big Blue Nation. While that can be called lazy journalism, it happens and it’s wrong. The crazies give the rest of the fan base a bad name and provide a distorted view of the BBN for the rest of the country.
Kentucky fans are probably the most active fans on social media so as a result, national media has more contact with UK fans, for better or worse.
In March, a UK fan tweeted CBS’s Matt Norlander that maybe Kentucky needed to find a better fit for coach than John Calipari and it was such an asinine comment that Norlander had to retweet it. And all of a sudden, the public perception was that Kentucky fans were ingrates and wanted to fire a coach that delivered a national title two years ago.
Granted, retweeting something is one thing. It has a relatively short live span and runs its course until another stupid fan tweets something stupid to a columnist about their school. And then that takes on a life of its own.
Also recently, a Louisville site decided to rip off Deadspin and post negative UK fan reactions to Julius Randle leaving. I did a Twitter search and found the Randle mentions from Kentucky fans overwhelmingly positive, but if you dig deep enough, you found the negativity. Using Twitter reaction for a post is a lazy article, but if you feed the trolls, they will post it.
However, when reporters use these twitter generalizations as a representation of the entire fan base and as a fact, that’s a bad thing. Consider the case of Pat Forde’s latest piece on the Harrison Twins returning to Kentucky. In what should have been a feel food, “Stars return to college and eschew the NBA” story, Forde could not resist taking a few shots at the Big Blue Nation and making some overgeneralizations of the fanbase.
So the celebrating in the bluegrass is understandable. But it’s also laughable. There was a time when the twins were being crushed by those now fawning over them.
When the 2013-14 Wildcats struggled their way through an underachieving regular season, the Harrisons were the leading targets for fan criticism. There were message-board threads ripping their game, their demeanor and their commitment to the program. A good percentage of UK fans couldn’t wait to be done with them, assuming they were just passing through for one season.
I mean we know what to expect from a Pat Forde piece on Kentucky. His history of negativity toward Calipari and the UK fanbase is legendary, but I just wonder where he came up with his stats on what the Kentucky fanbase is thinking?