John Calipari Tirade – Can We Get Over Ourselves?

by Kent Sterling

"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

John Calipari is not a guy I have a lot of good things to say about, but when he called a Kentucky player a “selfish motherfucker”, I didn’t care.

This doesn’t make Calipari a bad guy, any more than his language made Bob Knight a bad guy.

The moral outrage being expressed by people whose sensibilities have been hurt by Calipari’s use of language is idiotic.  Words have power, no doubt, but to allow their use to bother us is ridiculous.

The American profanity allergy shows us to be sensitive types eager to be prompted to moral outrage, and it needs to stop.  Limits on use of language doesn’t make us pious or holy.  It doesn’t make us hip or cool either.

Coaches have been using language like this since the beginning of time.  In James Naismith’s rules of basketball, the fifth rule is “No fucking dribbling, you assholes!”  Only the use of white out by Naismith’s heirs have made their presentation acceptable outside a bar.

I have heard stories from coaches who told me the things they said to players in front of their families, and it curled my ear hair.  I sat behind the Indiana bench at a game in 1991 or 1992, and the language Bob Knight directed toward Todd Jadlow made me feel terrible for the kid and his parents if they were nearby.  He yelled it loudly enough that his verbal cannon shots at Jadlow could be heard 20 rows up.

Had I been Jadlow’s father, I would have left my seat and challenged Knight, and then I would have been in my kid’s grill for allowing any man to say that to him.

The sad truth is that some kids occasionally need to have their hard drives rebooted, and some shockingly profane language sometimes gets that done.  To be critical of Calipari would make me a hypocrite, as I dropped an F-bomb as a substitute teacher to get the attention of a classroom full of eighth graders.

The best use of language prompts the desired response.  That’s the whole idea behind the effort of talking.

The ultimate arbiter of right and wrong in this case is Terrence Jones, the freshman who was embarrassed in front of the country.  Jones tweeted, “If ur saying ur parents never said anything to you that hurt ur feelings and then apologized to you after ur lying. I’m happy and blessed for playing for Cal. Don’t think otherwise.”

For me, that’s case closed.  Had Jones taken offense and come back at Calipari, he would have been perfectly justified.

Calipari might be a self-serving guy who has discovered the perfect level of reward needed to acquire the very best recruits year after year, but he did nothing wrong here.

4 thoughts on “John Calipari Tirade – Can We Get Over Ourselves?

  1. Todd Jadlow

    Please give me a break if you can not take a few words you have very thin skin. Coaches getting on players is nothing new so dont thing anything about it. Getting yelled at was at the least of what a player deals with. It makes you mentally tougher and normally goes in one ear and out the other. Getting yelled at was at the least of what a player deals with. So please give me a break!!!

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Brother, if you are really Todd Jadlow, no one ever deserves the kind of nonsense Knight spewed in your direction. For him to do it so loudly was completely unacceptable. I’m glad it was water off a duck’s back for you. For me, as the dad of a kid playing college basketball, I would probably be able to restrain myself long enough for the game to end and then see about setting the coach straight on way or the other.

      I’m not entirely sure that kind of mental toughness is something a college student should need to build, or have thrust upon him. Basketball is not the military, and being screamed at by a deranged drill sergeant serves no purpose.

  2. TW

    In the H-T (local) paper today (12-4-11) is a list of all team members from the last championship in 1987. A short run down of what each player was doing now followed, with the exception of Todd Jadlow “not (no) information”. I found this odd so I “Googled” Todd Jadlow, found plenty of info including the following Quote from Jadlow. (Wikipedia): “I don’t know what I’m going to do with all my Indiana stuff,” Jadlow said after Knight’s firing. “I’m sure not going to be wearing anything Indiana. For the first time in my life I’m ashamed to say that I’m a graduate of Indiana.” He went on to say: “I, personally, don’t believe the two-faced (IU) administration… It’s just sad the way things transpired. This is a guy (Knight) who should have a monument of him erected.” QUESTION – Do you believe providing no information was intentional by the university? I’m assuming that I.U. provided info to the paper. Also many of those team members will be at today’s game signing autographs. The H-T did not mention that Todd Jadlow will be in attendance for the signing session.


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