The good side of fandom
This should go without saying, but is worth repeating anyway. Kentucky fans are the best in college sports, and I would argue, potentially the best in sports period. But our craziest factions can also include some of the worst. The latest example involves a small number (less than 30 probably) of UK fans harassing Anthony Bennett on Twitter about his decision to attend either UNLV or Oregon. I won’t go into the many ways that is rude, foolish and petty. Chances are if you are doing it, you either already know this or you don’t care, neither of which makes explaining why it is stupid productive. But if I can’t appeal to your sense of decency, let me appeal to this…such actions do hurt UK recruiting in the future. A fanbase that sends hateful messages, which are then often Retweeted by the athlete, also sends a message that it is full of lunatics. While people love passion, no one loves maniacal craziness, and people tweeting hateful thoughts to a teenager they have never met qualifies as the latter.
The rise of the internet and social media has given everyone a voice. That is good…and terrible. As we see in forums ranging from Twitter to the comment section of this blog, there are some unbelievable idiots in this world. I wish we could wave a rational magic wand and make those idiots change their actions and no longer represent Big Blue Nation. But that isn’t going to happen. But maybe they can realize that their actions are hurting, rather than helping. Not only does it make us look bad, it hurts the brand. When UK fans do that to themselves (and yes, the vast majority of these people are UK fans and not “other team’s fans acting like they are us”, as many hope), then we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Wish Anthony Bennett and any other kid that doesn’t come to Kentucky the best. There is no reason to wish them anything but success in the future. As JT says, we will win with them or without them.