Had you told me a week ago that I would have spent my Wednesday in French Lick, Indiana taking constant phone calls from people I dont know about a story that I have no insight into, I would have told you that you were crazy. But such is the current status of all things Kentucky basketball. If you have been away for a bit, here is how we got to this point:
1. Last weekend, I was told that a national reporter would be releasing a story about a former Calipari staffer at Memphis on Tuesday. I sent out a Twitter message saying that such a story was coming, and indicated that beyond knowing the name of the staffer, I knew nothing about the specifics of the story.
2. I was quickly called and told that the story was 2-3 weeks away, which I then Twittered out immediately.
3. Today, all heck broke loose. Media members from entities ranging from the New York Times to ESPN began calling me asking me about the specifics of a story that I honestly know nothing about. I had nothing to tell them but did ask how they got my phone number (I blame you Drew Franklin).
Today Larry Vaught reported that the staff member rumored to be at the center of the story was Bilal Batley and that he had been hired at one point as part of Calipari’s staff at Kentucky. I spoke this afternoon with Dewayne Peevy, the UK SID, who sent me this statement:
Bilal Batley is no longer a member of the UK Men’s Basketball staff. He resigned from his position two weeks ago. Our normal practice is to not announce the hiring or departure of any staff member in any sport of a non-coaching capacity.
I have been told by a source not at Kentucky that Batley’s reason for leaving the staff was personal and had to do with a family concern and nothing about the story in question. Honestly until this whole thing popped up, I didnt even know Batley was at UK and what his role was here or at Memphis is a mystery to me. Yet a few disgruntled fans (the same few that pop up to pop off about me every couple of months) have gone online and claimed that this was a secret plot for me to bring down UK, etc. Yeah thats right folks, you have found me out. I have cheered for UK for 31 years, started a blog that I ran for free for the better part of four years and have basically had my life become engulfed with Kentucky sports all so I can then contribute to a story about a person who I dont know and his time at a school I dont care about (Memphis). What a brilliant plot.
So where are we now? Well as I have written before, I have been told that the story will not come out for 2-3 weeks. While I still know nothing about the specifics of its claims, I have been told that it wont be earth-shattering and much of the speculation by fans of other teams and websites is completely ridiculous. At this point many in the media are chasing their tails, but we havent seen any story yet. My guess is we wont until the original story that I had been told would come Tuesday is finally released…whenever that is.
I will admit that I certainly have learned a lesson with this whole thing. My original reason for sending out the twitter message was just to prepare UK fans for some bad publicity. Had I known the article had been pushed back (which I found out immediately after sending out the tweet), I would have never written anything. In fact what I should have done is call said reporter and ask if the report was coming out…but I didnt and now I have learned for the future. But I would have never imagined that the mainstream media from all over the country would grab onto that tweet and create what was one of the more surreal days of my life. I know no more about the original story or Bital Batley that I did four days ago. But I have learned a lot more about how the mainstream media works, what drives the news in this blog/twitter infested time and the fact that this little blog, which often has a server that will not stay up no matter what we do, is read by many more folks that matter than I would have ever dreamed.
And with that, chuckle and think about the Editors of the NY Times having to read Brian the Intern’s daily links for news content. Aint life strange?