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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Calipari apologizes for Jones-directed rant

By Eamonn Brennan

The best thing about watching college basketball from a courtside seat isn't the view of the game. That's nice, sure, but you can get that in the 50th row, or the 150th, or at home on television. (Arguably, watching on TV is a better way to actually watch the game, because you tend to see more of the floor and have the benefit of replay.) No, the best thing about watching college hoops from a media row is the ability to pick up on little things you rarely get on TV. In a quiet gym, you can hear almost everything coaches tell their players, everything players tell each other, and -- perhaps most enjoyable -- everything each group tells the referees.

Usually, when that stuff gets caught on TV, it's a matter of hilarity, not scorn.

Unfortunately for Kentucky coach John Calipari, many fans seem unwilling to pass Tuesday night's rant -- which saw Calipari unleash a massive verbal tirade at Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones before calling his star player a "selfish motherf---er" -- as good, old-fashioned coaching intensity. Instead, the reaction on Twitter and at Kentucky forums was nearly as heated, with many posters saying Calipari's antics were "ugly" and "embarrassing" to its hoops program.

Of course, plenty of Big Blue Nation had Calipari's back, and few college hoops fans harbor any illusion about the vulgarity frequently used by coaches at all levels of amateur sport. (Ever been to a high school football practice? Yeah.) Still, the backlash caused Calipari to address the matter on Twitter, where he apologized to fans and his players:
"First of all I want to apologize for my language at the end of the game. I got caught up in the emotion of the game, but that's no excuse," Calipari wrote. ... "Sometimes you don't realize in the moment that what you're saying is on national TV. The BBN deserves better and so do my players."

Was the rant a little over the top? Sure. Was it better left for the locker room? If only to save some embarrassment for Jones -- what kid wants to be called "selfish" on national TV? -- yes. Was it the worst thing a college basketball coach has ever said to a player, in public or in private? Uh, no.

Anyway, what say you, CBNers? Did Calipari cross a line?