Trash talk Tuesday

Apologies, blog readers. I’ve been having trouble with my posting software. This was meant to hit the web this morning, but better late than never, updated with a new lead story.

Nobody talked, and backed up, a better game than Muhammad Ali. This Associated Press picture today from Ennis, Ireland, shows the magnetism he still possesses. Ali was visiting the home of some ancestors. Even in Ireland, he turned out a massive crowd.

Ali’s great-grandfather, Abe Grady, sailed from Ennis to the U.S. in the 1860s and settled in Kentucky, where he married a freed slave. One of their grandchildren was Ali’s mother. [Read the story here]

CALIPARI HAULS OFF: So John Calipari wants to haul off and hit somebody. Here’s the segment from a piece on Calipari by Yahoo’s! Jason King:

One minute on Wednesday, Calipari said he didn’t pay attention to the barbs. The next, he discussed how painful the situation has been for his family. His angst was evident when asked about the way he’s been portrayed by the media.

“There’s [one] guy I don’t like,” Calipari said. “I know he’s a scoundrel. If I keep reading it, I’m going to punch him right in his mouth if I see him. So I’m better [off] not reading it.”

First off, I don’t want to make too much of this. He’s just trying to be edgy, maybe even joking. Because, you know, anybody who really has the juice to punch a guy doesn’t mind naming names. Let’s face it. Whoever the guy is that Calipari’s talking about, undoubtedly, puts his name out there and his opinion.

But beyond that, people ask how I feel about covering Calipari. I tell them, I’m excited about it. I haven’t had much interaction with him, and that’s something I regret. It’s been a hectic summer all around. But I’ve found that you can get along with just about anyone if you’re fair to them. Calipari is allowing unprecedented access to UK practices this year. At least, that was the plan. We’ll see how things go since the latest round of negative press in the wake of the Memphis violations.

Regardless, UK is going to be more interesting to cover than at any time since I returned to The C-J, and that’s going to be fun.

RODRIGUEZ GETS CLOCKED: Rich Rodriguez is under fire for alleged violations of the 20-hour rule at Michigan. In other news, Nick Saban reportedly broke the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit in Birmingham and Joe Paterno ripped one of those tags off the pillow that are not to be removed “under penalty of law.”

Even if this is a violation in Ann Arbor, it’s a secondary. Nobody follows the 20-hour rule. I would guess that most players at elite programs put in more like 40 hours.

The rule was instituted by the NCAA to give athletes more time for their studies. Funny, the NCAA doesn’t care about their studies when they’re allowing games to be played at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Rodriguez’s bigger problem is that he’s disliked enough in Michigan that former players would talk about this. It confirms a suspiscion I had about him, that he might have trouble being accepted as “one of us” by the Michigan faithful.

ESPN HAS NAMED the Dave Matthews Band the official band of ESPN’s 2009 College Football Coverage. Official band? Come on. But, in keeping with the spirit, I would like to name Phoenix the official band of The Courier-Journal’s 2009 College Football Coverage. Take that, worldwide leader.

NOT-SO-RANDOM ALI QUOTE: After being stripped of the heavyweight championship, Ali was asked about what he thought of whoever would be heavyweight champion next . . .

Let the man that wins go to the backwoods of Georgia and Alabama or to Sweden or Africa. Let him stick his head in an elementary school; let him walk back down an alley at night. Let him stop under a street lamp where some small boys are playing and let him say, “What’s my name?” And see what they really say. Everybody knows me and knows I am the champion.

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24 thoughts on “Trash talk Tuesday

  1. Good bet Calipari wants to punch Jeff Caulkins, the columnist of the Memphis paper. He has gone beyond being critical to almost liable comments in the last couple of months.

  2. Well that's what happens when you crap on a city as you fly out the door. I bet there are a few Memphis fans, errrr Umass fans who wouldn't mind a few quality minutes with ole Cal.

  3. Captain Calipari is better than Rocketman of the old 'Movin' Picture' days of my youth. Eric and all of KY are left in suspense as to who is about to be decked. Keeps ye savin' a quarter for next week. Given his tight schedule, he most likely will have to send someone to … well, you know.. Ol' Geoff hasn't used his (mightyer than the sword) for more than 10 days. So rule him out.

  4. Agree, I think it is Caulkins. Forde is probably #2.Hilarious that ESPN had Forde on to blast Calipari, and then had him on to discuss the Pitino scandal and he constantly defended him ("Pitino is not the one charged with crimes!"). Not once did they mention the conflict of interest – Forde writing a book with Pitino.

  5. Actually, ESPN has been airing disclaimers about Forde's book deal with Pitino, before he talks on television, and to any commentary he provides in print form.It does not, however, give the Pitino connection when Forde comments on Calipari. And it should not. Co-writing a book with Pitino has nothing to do with Calipari.

  6. Are you serious, Eric? I just read your little bio, and in it you claim to be a product of the "cold war" that we all know as UofK and UofL. You know that the two head coaches will always be compared in every way shape and form, and if someone has a rooting interest in one, they probably have a non rooting interest in the other. You couldn't possibly be this naive, Eric. It's pretty obvious that Forde has a friendship and business partnership with Pitino, which means that he more than likely will have some sort of bias against anything UofK related. Do you really think that he would defend Pitino and criticize Calipari if he had written a book with Coach Cal instead? I think not.

  7. Yep. I'm serious. ESPN, last time I checked, is not located within the Bluegrass state borders.Forde, in fact, is from Missouri.Not everyone sees the world in shades of blue or red.Forde covered UK as beat writer for The Courier-Journal for years, and I don't remember any anti-UK bias being claimed against him then, nor when he was routinely ripping Denny Crum while he was U of L coach.Only someone with a fan's mindset would think that the two are related.ESPN, however, is not a fan publication. It has disclosed Forde's business association with Pitino. From ESPN's standpoint, that has no relation to anything Forde does regarding Calipari.They come at it from a national, rather than provincial, mindset.By your reckoning, it would be impossible to write something good about Pitino one day, then turn around and write something good about Calipari the next. Same for bad.That's ridiculous.

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