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Take It Down

“Take it down.”   Three simple words but ones that resulted in a firestorm of controversy Monday afternoon.

Reporter Jerry Tipton posed a question to Calipari, asking for his opinion on the Confederate flag.  A number of fans felt the question should never have been asked during a conference about basketball.   However, it seemed to be a fair inquiry given the remarks Coach Frank Martin of South Carolina had made via social media on Sunday.  Regardless, the question was asked and Coach Cal answered, “Really?” and then continued “Obviously, it offends a portion of our society, so people are deciding to take them down. That’s how I feel. It may offend, so I’d say do it.”   He asked if Kentucky used the flag and was told no, but that statues of various Confederate leaders are in the state capitol and in downtown Lexington.  Cal’s response?  “Wow. ” Coach Cal later went to Facebook to clarify his stance:


Was just asked a question on a basketball conference call about the confederate flag. I don’t want any confusion. I think we should take it down…

Posted by John Calipari on Monday, June 29, 2015

Simple, right?  He was asked a question and he answered it.   But there seems to be a portion of our fan base that feels Cal should never speak on anything but basketball.  Many replied that Calipari should have simply said “No comment”, while others were even more harsh in their remarks.  Note:  I am copying these remarks verbatim.

  • “Coach, your not running for office (thank the Lord) but you are a excellent basketball coach!, not a politician. Please pass on questions such as those. The Confederate flag stands for so much that you know so little about. Get informed.. read!!” Pretty sure he specifically said he wasn’t running for office.  Also pretty sure he reads.  A lot.
  • “Why would you make the remark at all and do what’s best that you do coaching basketball!!!! You should had kept your mouth shut and not answered the question!!”! Politics and religion should not been discussed!!!! You have a lot upset big Blue fans tonight we here at BBN are waiting for you to reiterate and a solid sincere apology on national television!!!!”  Reiterate what?  His opinion?  And apologize for what?  Answering the question or the answer itself?
  • “Wow. You really should have passed on that one. Might be time to remove you. Take you down some pegs. News flash. Your a basketball coach. And not that good of one at that. I’m 57. Been a big blue fan my whole life. Getting a little big for your britches boy”  Seriously?  He should be fired because he answered a question?
  • “You have a right to your opinion coach, and so do I. There comes a time you are better off giving an honest answer such as advising the interviewer that the question was irrelevant to the subject. I lost some respect for you today. Coach basketball and don’t use your position for political agendas.”  So by giving his honest opinion he wasn’t being honest?  I get so confused!  Oh, and political agendas?  Did you read his remarks in their entirety?

What seemed to be lost on a number of fans was the fact Calipari was speaking on whether the flag should be displayed in or on state grounds.  Nowhere did he say an individual who chooses to display the flag on their own property, on their vehicles or on their person should be prohibited from doing so.   Rather, he was acknowledging the reality that the flag is offensive to many and a state building is not where it should be displayed.

There were also more than a few fans who suggested Cal had no business expressing any opinion on the flag because he was a “northerner.”  To that I say the following:  I am a lifelong Kentuckian and I happen to agree with John Calipari.  The flag should not be displayed at or on state buildings.  I am not uneducated about the Confederate flag nor its origins.  But not having it flown at a state building does not take away from your southern “heritage.”  As Frank Martin so eloquently stated: “I believe it should be displayed in a museum and not at a public place which represents ALL the members of our incredible state.”

I’d like to think the BBN can be reasonable and understand that it is indeed possible to disagree with a person’s opinion and yet still like that person.  I’d like to believe the BBN understands why so many people find the Confederate flag offensive (SPOILER:  it has nothing to do with your heritage, but it has everything to do with hate and oppression).   Most of all, I’d like to know that the BBN can express their disagreement with a person’s opinion without sinking to the levels of name-calling and personal attacks.  But for now, all those wishes are but a dream.  Here’s hoping that dream will one day be a reality.

If you’d like to hear the entire coaches conference, you can find it here

Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue




Michele Brown
Michele Brown
Writer at since Feb. 2015 Co-host of Big Blue Views podcast. Mom, Christian, sports junkie, golf addict and speed typist. I can cook your mama's food better than she can.

1 Comment

  1. John says:

    Unfortunately there are a few UK fans that are simply simple as in stupid.

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