If there is one thing that the Memphis alleged violations have revealed, it is that of the truly sad state of what passes for sports journalism. It has been absolutely disgusting the level of character assassination UK coach John Calipari has undergone the past week. ESPN has led the charge with sensationalistic headlines and rapid conjecture that the editors of the Weekly World News would be proud of.
Even a story as simple as Calipari having to attend the Memphis NCAA hearing by teleconference received the misleading link “NCAA to Calipari: Must participate in hearing”. It made it seem as if Cal was trying to weasel his way out of the hearing rather than the truth. ESPN also reported that UK recruit John Wall plead guilty to a misdemeanor for breaking and entering. Two days later, they finally reported the truth that Wall pled guilty as a precondition to entering a first offender program and retracted the pleading guilty to the misdemeanor story. Too late really as most people read the first story and crucified Wall in the poll of public opinion.
As of late Monday night, ESPN still prominently featured two Pat Forde hack jobs on the situation, both of them with pictures of John Calipari despite the fact the NCAA had stated that neither UK or Calipari were at risk for any violations or penalties. The stories remained prominent despite the fact that there has been a lot of new coming out of Chicago that focus on Simeon Academy and how the whole root of the problem may lie solely with the school.
When the matter comes to the much juicier Rick Pitino/Karen Sypher extortion case, ESPN seems to have a lock on the case which prevents details from leaking out. The same Pat Forde is the source of the Pitino ESPN content and he has taken a pro Pitino bias in his reporting. As all of the BBN know, Forde has coauthored a book with Rick Pitino, and has a vested interest in not letting seedy details slip out. ESPN seems to have no problem with this double standard.
Another thing that has come out is how freaking lazy these sports reporter actually are. Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald Lader recently wrote a “story” that was nothing but a recap of Memphis journalist Geoff Calkins story bashing Calipari. Rather than do any real research or investigation, Tipton simply called Calkins and gave him another forum to spread his speculations.
Across the web it is not much better. Gary Parrish of CBSSports posts a link to a youtube video made by a Memphis fan that calls Cal a cheater and infers that UK signs players that can not read and shows a picture of Eric Bledsoe and Cousins. Wow this the same Eric Bledsoe that Memphis media was literally stalking on his offical visit to town? The video makes allegations that Calipari let Reggie Rose fly for free and make probably half dozen slanderous statements.
Not to be outdone, Parrish has recently written that Memphis should have blackmailed Calipari to keep him from going to UK. But wait… if Calipari was so bad, why would they want to keep him… ah never mind.
And right now, Geoff Calkins is public enemy number one among Kentucky fans. Calkins who wrote a ton of stories about Calipari in the same vein a 15 year old girl would write about the Jonas brothers is suddenly all Glenn Close and “Fatal Attraction” spurned with his allegations. Calkins must have seen “Angels and Demons” recently and trying to uncover mysteries in any random piece of information. In his most recent column, Calkins called Memphis player Robert Dozier dirty because the NCAA flagged his SAT score when he committed to Georgia. As a result, he went to a prep school for a year, met Calipari there and then committed to Memphis. I am not really sure what his motive was for attacking a 4 year player that graduated from Memphis, but apparently Calkins is out of control following any loose lead.
Calkins called the UKAA’s press release that this was a Memphis affair “shameful”. I don’t know how many of you remember the great Paul “Pig Vomit” Giamatti at the end of “Private Parts” where he goes on an obscenity lace tirade at the mention of Howard Stern’s name. That is how I envision Calkins at the Commercial Appeal everytime Cal’s name is mentioned.
And all of these “journalists” keep throwing up the Worldwide Wes connection as if that suddenly is going to drop a dozen sanctions on Calipari’s head. What these idiots do not get is that the NCAA has just completed a thorough investigation of Calipari’s program at Memphis and have said there are no other violations that were found. Don’t you think the NCAA has looked at the Calipari/WWW connection? Yet all the NCAA found was this: a high school player supposedly cheated on his SAT before enrolling at Memphis and the AD’s office neglected to charge Reggie Rose’s credit card they had on file. And as much as the sports journalist hate to hear it, nothing can be pinned on Calipari and there is no proof he has ever done anything wrong.
I just know it’s as rare as a Bigfoot sighting when Dick Vitale is the voice of reason.