I heard it from UK fans all day yesterday concerning the UK situation with Enes Kanter. They said that whether or not Kanter is declared eligible, people can’t pin this on Coach Calipari because he didn’t pay the kid, did nothing against NCAA rules, and has gone through the entire investigation process by the book. And I would agree. This SHOULDN’T have a negative effect on Cal’s reputation. Unfortunately, what is the actual case and how it is PERCEIVED are two different things. To explain, just look at the headlines of several of the major sports websites concerning the developments yesterday:
CNNSI: Report, Turkish team paid Kentucky recruit
CBSSportsline:Report says UK recruit Kanter took 100K
ESPN: Report, UK recruit took cash from Turkish team
Fox Sports: Prized hoops recruit pocketed 100K in benefits
Now, I read through every one of these stories, and each one was completely fair and gave the facts as we know them. If anybody looked at the actual stories, they would quickly recognize that Kanter’s eligibility is in question, but that Kentucky committed no violation in his recruitment. But, if you simply looked at those headlines, 2 of the 4 don’t mention where Kanter got these benefits (hence people would assume UK paid him), 1 uses the term “pocketed” in a negative connotation, and CNNSI had the most neutral headline, but still scandalous.
But here is where the problem occurs: MOST PEOPLE ARE IGNORANT AND DON’T READ THE STORY. People in this society are LAZY and believe what they want to believe and most supports their preconceived notions. Fans who want to call Cal a cheater and dirty will simply look at that headline, assume it supports their belief of Cal and then move on. And that is unfortunate. The truly sad thing is UK fans would do the exact same thing against our rivals, but since our program in under attack the most, we don’t really get the chance. Although I can think of the Preston Knowles situation, and remember we didn’t really look past the headline on that one and see why exactly he got into that altercation.
And please do not respond by simply saying that you don’t care if people give Cal a bad rap and you don’t care if people don’t read past the headline and blah blah blah. If you say that you don’t care what kind of opinion people have on our coach, then you CAN NOT criticize people like Thamel and Tipton for unfair articles. You have to take a side: either you care about everything that is said about the team and the coach or you care about none of it. Personally, I fall on the don’t care side of that argument. Let Thamel and whoever else wants write the most unfair articles imaginable. Until the day that UK goes on probation, I don’t care what people SAY our program is doing. Especially at Kentucky, it’s just too exhausting to get worked up EVERY time something is written.
But, just so you can understand why some people will use the Kanter situation against Coach Calipari, just remember this: headlines are meant to draw you in to read a story, but most people only read the headline.