If you listened to the radio show today, I talked at some length about the silly “controversy” yesterday generated by UL fan sites (and fans on twitter) over Mitch Barnhart’s allegedly dismissive comments about UL Athletics Department’s historic year. Here was the supposedly outrageous thing Barnhart said at a meeting of the UK Board of Trustees:
“They’ve had a nice year. At the end of the day, they’ve done some things in their major sports and they should be congratulated on that. They’ve had a nice year. At the end of the day, the depth of our program is pretty good. They’ve had a really nice year in their major sports. The depth of our program though, I think, it outstanding.”
What pray tell was outrageous about that? Was it the line “they should be congratulated on that”? Was it the comment (true by the way) that the depth of UK’s program was good this year (although the major sports were down)? Was it the use of the word “nice”? Who knows but Louisville fans were outraged. Even though this comment was made after a meeting of the UK Board of Trustees (who by the way are Mitch Barnhart’s bosses and who one would expect Mitch wants to impress), Louisville fan sites and fans were very upset that Barnhart wasn’t more effusive in his praise. I made fun of that mindset and noted that it was the classic “Little Brother” mentality. It isn’t good enough to have success (and unfortunately for us, UL had a ton of success last year), but you need Big Brother to say you had success. “PLEASE BIG BROTHER…TELL ME WE ARE THE BEST…NO TELL ME AGAIN AND SAY IT NICER THIS TIME!” The need for daddy’s approval was hilarious to me.
But with that said, those are fan sites and fans. As fans, we talk trash and occasionally obsess over our rivals. But we are fans. But what about objective journalists? They should be above that right? Objective journalists should show no fan loyalty and just do their jobs…and to be fair, many try to do. But not our man Rick “Paula Deen” Bozich. Today, unbelievably, Rick Bozich wrote the same whiny comment, suggesting Barnhart hadn’t been classy in his answer. (I hesitate to link the article and give hits, but it is necessary to discuss). Writing for WDRB.com (MOTTO: “We are one of the four best television stations in Louisville that start with a ‘W'”), Bozich writes the same essential column that major UL fan site “Card Chronicle” did, but with less skill and wit. He gives Barnhart a few perfunctory compliments (including one that isn’t even true, calling Barnhart a “master fund-raiser”…the one skill that he actually isn’t the best at…showcasing that Deen is as uninformed as he is biased) and then says:
Mitch Barnhart had a nice opportunity to show he understood that sportsmanship is more than a talking point when he was asked about Louisville’s remarkable year. He whiffed.
According to Bozich, what Barnhart should have said was not that UL had a nice year and should be congratulated but instead,
Great for them — and great for us. Great for them because of the attention it brings to our great state, that we’re not just a basketball state. Both schools have teams in a many sports that are really, really good. Their success is also great for us because it keeps us on our toes, working harder. We’re going to get there, too. That’s always been our goal — and always will be.
Yes you read that correctly…Bozich wanted the ATHLETIC DIRECTOR AT UK to say that UL having success is what makes Kentucky try to achieve its goals. Now honestly Rick, does anyone think that the UK Athletic Director, or for that matter ANY Athletic Director, is going to say that? Does anyone believe Tom Jurich would say that after a UK historic season? NO! That isn’t his job…his job is to man the UK Athletic Department, build it and go forward…not stroke UL’s ego. Surely Deen knows that, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t care.
I understand that some (not all) UL fans can showcase “Little Brother” syndrome…rather than just succeeding, they need validation from UK fans and writers. I get it…we can laugh about it, but I get it. But for Paula Bozich to feel the same way? That shocks me. I remember back in the day, when a column from Rick Bozich in the Courier Journal could change the course of conversation in the Commonwealth. Now we are left with this fan boy drivel on a local television station website by a writer who might as well get a Tom Jurich tattoo on his back to signify his undying loyalty. The mighty have fallen, and we don’t need Mitch Barnhart to confirm that unfortunate truth.