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John Calipari has been a busy man since he landed the head coaching gig at Kentucky. He's put together one of the most talented recruiting classes in recent memory; he's had a second Final Four vacated as a result of SAT fraud involving Derrick Rose; he's had a public feud with ESPN's Pat Forde via Twitter, although he did find time to make amends with ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards. Hell, he was even the subject of a Lexington rapper's song.
Essentially, what Coach Cal has done is keep Kentucky basketball in the forefront during the college basketball offseason. I mean, since UNC ran roughshod over the NCAA Tournament back in the spring, has a week gone by where Coach Cal was not being talked about, be it on the blogs, by the water cooler, on Sportscenter, etc.?
And that is exactly what he wants to do. Keeping the Cats in the news is, when it comes down to it, free marketing for the university and for the basketball team. For a kid that wants to be a star, don't you think it would be appealing to play at a place with enough of a national following that a facebook post by the daughter of the head coach becomes national news?
How's the saying go? There's no such thing as bad publicity?
The bottom line is that there is probably not a more rabid fan base in the country than Big Blue Nation, and playing for the Wildcats when they are good is enough to make you a legend in the state.
One of Cal's recruiting tools is to relentlessly promote that fact. That is exactly what he was trying to do when he decided to send President Barack Obama a jersey with his name on it along with Cal's new book.
Well, some Kentucky fans were not happy that Calipari sent Obama a jersey. I guess Calipari was too busy working to realize that while he may head Big Blue Nation, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is as red, politically, as any state in the union.
In fact, he received so much negative attention that Cal posted an apology on his facebook page. That post was taken down two hours later because it generated a large amount of racist and derogatory comments.
Now, we all know UK fans are passionate, and if you are that passionate about something in your life, odds are good that will carry over to other aspects of your life.
But I don't understand how it could possibly be a bad thing for the president of the United States to own a personalized Kentucky basketball jersey. I really doubt that there was any political motive behind the move, but Cal did learn a valuable lesson in that sports and politics do not always mix.
The racism aspect in all of this is the most ironic part. Those UK fans have an issue with a black president wearing a Kentucky basketball jersey, but there is no problem with the overwhelming majority of the UK basketball team being black?
How does that make any sense?
But I'd be willing to bet that anyone that had an issue will be singing a different tune if Cal wins six straight during March Madness and Obama greets the Wildcats at the White House rocking his UK jersey.