I know there are some people out there that arent into political posts and I respect that. But this is going to be one anyway, and if you arent interested just skip down to the end. Many of you know about the iconic call from a young baseball fan who saw Shoeless Joe Jackson after word came out of the Black Sox scandal in which Shoeless Joe’s team was accused of taking a dive in the World Series. Supposedly at some point the fan looked at Joe and said, “say it aint so,” echoing the thoughts of thousands of fans of pro athletes for generations. I had a “Say it aint so” moment this past weekend that truly disappointed me and somewhat surprised me. Bill Clinton, who despite his many personal faults has always been someone I respected, has truly let himself go in the past week, with extremely negative consequences. The man who is often called the first “black President” was anticipating Barack Obama’s victory in South Carolina on Saturday and essentially said (not a direct quote) “eh, it doesnt matter….Jesse Jackson won here in 1984 and 1988.” Anyone with a pulse immediately saw what this statement was supposed to mean…using a racially charged word (which for better or worse Jesse Jackson is), Clinton essentially tried to paint Obama as all the other black presidential candidates, dismissing the man who has intentionally tried to forge a new road on the campaign trail. As a person who has always held Clinton in relatively high esteem, especially on racial issues, I found it egregious and possibly one of the worst statements Clinton has ever made. For Bill Clinton, a man who has relied on black voters like no President in history, to engage in racial name-calling politics, well it insured what I always knew….that if you are a Democrat, the ONLY choice is Barack Obama. Dont believe me? Watch his victory speech on Saturday night in South Carolina (linked below)….I am rarely inspired by politicians (unless of course Woo is involved)….but Obama does it. And I hope he gives Bill Clinton what he deserves on Super Tuesday.
To the news….
(1) A WEEK OFF: Kentucky gets a rare mid-season open date this week, which hopefully will allow Joe Crawford to hear and Jasper and Meeks to hit 100% for the stretch drive. You likely can make the case that the past four games have been the best four games the Cats have played all season. They have settled on a rotation that works….Bradley, Crawford, Meeks, Jasper, Patterson and Stevenson the 6 main guys, with spot duty from Ramon Harris and the ubiquitous starting role of Mark Coury. Offensively, they have never looked better, with the Bradley given more of a creative role and Meeks/Jasper hitting outside shots, likely the biggest factor in opening up the flow of the game. Add to that the development of Perry Stevenson and the continued top-flight play of Patrick Patterson (who Dave Odom said was the best Freshman big man he has seen at UK), and this team is rolling. 4 of the next 5 are on the road. The Cats need to win 3 of those 4 to keep the tournament within sight. Dont bet against them yet….
(2) ‘DRE KEEPS FALLING: It was not a pretty sight for Andre Woodson at the Senior Bowl, as he had a rough week of practice and an even tougher performance during the game. It is very difficult to turn on and watch a guy you really like throw a bomb as a performance….and Woodson had that “bad comedian at the church picnic” performance on Saturday. He made two terrible decisions, handing the ball to the other team deep in his own territory and taking a safety….both plays that were inexcusable. While poor decisions have plagued Woodson at times at Kentucky, unlike at UK, he didnt make the spectacular play to make up for it. ‘Dre has now dropped out of most First Round projections as is being considered a 2-3rd round guy….that is tough news for a guy who was once projected to be the first QB taken.
(3) HAPPY STEWART: The continued talk throughout the year has been about the possibility of transfers. We have written here about rumors of transfers in December and now the continued vibe on the message boards is that Billy Clyde will “clean house” during the off-season. While I doubt that to be true (there isnt a lot to replace the players with), one individual who has seen his thoughts on the team get more sunny every day is AJ Stewart. I spoke with someone who is very close to AJ who told me that AJ is “coming into his own and loving being in Lexington.” He said that while he has been disappointed in playing time, he feels “his time is coming” and that he will be patient. The individual said AJ has matured a great deal during the year and you “wouldnt believe” the positive change. Good to hear as I like AJ a great deal and think he can have a future here.
That is all for now….more during the day today as we move towards the bye for mid-week. While you are waiting, I hate the Patriots, so I give you the worst “team theme song” in history….the 1986 Patriots’ “New England….The Patriots and We!” It is unbelievable….