Calipari Unwisely Namechecks Obama In Kentucky

For a couple days now, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has been teasing fans with a #44 jersey, asking them to figure out where he’s sending it. If it were a recruiting ploy, it would be fantastically popular - and, of course, riotously illegal in the NCAA’s eyes. So that wasn’t it. Who’s getting el double cuatro, then?

John Calipari Barack Obama Jersey
(Um, Mr. Calipari, you may want to “vacate” this decision.)

Oh, him. Yes, Barack Obama is our President, and how you feel about his job thus far probably directly coincides with your party allegiance. And unfortunately for Calipari, he now coaches in the middle of Kentucky, and if there’s one thing they hate, it’s some Barack Obama. Commence Internet meltdown!

From the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, Calipari quickly learned why you never, ever mix sports and politics:

Apparently enough fans objected to the gift that the UK coach felt compelled to post an explanation on his Facebook page.

“Folks — I think everyone is missing my intention of sending a jersey to the President,” Calipari wrote. “There was NOTHING political about it — it was simply a way of spreading the word of Big Blue Nation into the White House! I apologize if I offended anyone — that was not my intention. I know politics and sports don’t mix, but a friend offered to give [Calipari’s book] “Bounce Back” to the President and we figured we could send along a jersey as well.”

In case your memory’s sharp, you’ll recall this isn’t the first time Obama’s affiliation to sports has caused a rift, though this time Obama didn’t even have to do anything.

The tone of protests on Calipari’s website and Facebook page got so negative that Calipari had to start erasing comments, which always goes over as well as a fart in church. Even Calipari’s web staff had to step in.

Two hours after his apology, Calipari made another post explaining why critical fan comments had been removed from the Web site. David Scott, the editor of CoachCal.com, said fans used “bad language” in their postings.

When asked if the fan objections could be linked to racial or political factors, Scott said, “You can probably draw your own conclusions. There’s a lot of opinion out there.”

Ahem, Cats fans. You should probably be thankful Scott refused to sell you out, because we’re pretty damn sure he’s directly referring to the dreaded Neutron Bomb, which you never, ever drop if you want to be taken seriously. It’s worse than Godwin’s law (another point of decorum that seems to have gone out the window as of late).

And look. As a friend’s bumper sticker once said, “I don’t have to like the President to love my country.” By that same token, you don’t have to like the President to respect the Presidency. There’s a basketball fan in the White House now, and the Kentucky coach is making a polite gesture to him. There’s nothing inherently bad about that. Let’s just chill and worry about things that, y’know, matter.