Rex Chapman Taking Major Heat for John Calipari, LA Lakers Rumor

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship against the Connecticut Huskies at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Rex Chapman set Twitter on fire before the NCAA championship game when he said Kentucky head coach John Calipari was headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, and now he's the one taking some heat.

First, Chapman's incendiary tweet:

Pretty strong language, right? There wouldn't seem to be much wiggle room in the interpretation of a tweet that includes the hashtag "done deal." But then sources within the Lakers organization strongly refuted Chapman's report:

Next, Calipari himself shot down the rumor, via ESPN's Jeannine Edwards: "No. I'm right [here] at Kentucky. I got the best job. I've got a good group of kids. Love what I'm doing. Speculation? That's there every year I coach."

Since having his "report" refuted by all parties involved, Chapman has done his best to backtrack and qualify.

In an interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Chapman explained: “I treat Twitter like I’m talking to my friends. I'm not a journalist, never pretend to be. I’m not going to just refrain from giving information I hear just because it might upset some people.”

Nobody has ever confused Chapman for a reporter, and it's rare for sports figures to approach social media as honestly has he does. So maybe it's a little silly to jump down Chapman's throat for reporting what he heard from sources he deemed reliable.

At the same time, Chapman's assertion that he was merely repeating what a source told him without necessarily endorsing its veracitywhich he does repeatedly in the Patrick interviewcomes off as a serious backpedal.

He's relying on semantics, and Patrick, a veteran of the business, offered up some tips for future tweeting: "If you put in a tweet 'I'm hearing done deal,' it's different. ... I think I'm going to have to teach you how to phrase things."

Chapman didn't sound particularly contrite for repeating news he later said he didn't believe, so it'll be a while before anyone takes his future tweets seriously. I suppose it also means there's a whole contingent of more responsible media members who are frustrated with Chapman's fast-and-loose approach to journalism.

Per CBS Sports' Mike Singer:

This entire episode comes off as disingenuous, and unless Calipari flips the script and winds up in “La La Land,” as Chapman put it, I'd suggest he crack open a big bottle of Kentucky bourbon to split with Rob Lowe.

Stepping back a bit, there are plenty of reasons to believe Calipari might leave Kentucky. He's left other jobs in the past and has been an NBA coach before. Plus, the Lakers are always looking to make a splash. If he ultimately does leave Kentucky for Los Angeles, it won't be a total stunner.

I guess the lesson here is this: Never tweet anything with #DoneDeal unless the deal is already done.