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Why are Kentucky fans so despised

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CINCINNATI I saw the message as soon as I came to work on Saturday. The Reds announced that they would be recognizing Kentucky’s national basketball champions prior to Tuesday’s game against San Francisco. It struck me as a stroke of genius. They took a positive from the court and brought it to the ballpark. It was a case of the Reds inviting the Blue in hopes of generating a little more Green.

Photographer Philip Lee walked in a short time later and I remarked that the Reds had hit another marketing home run. He said he thought it was a good idea too, but that’s not what people were saying on jerseys cheapnfljerseywholesale He said many fans were disgusted that the Reds would do such a thing. Really?

I dismissed it. I have better things to do than worry about the 140 misspelled characters that angry and bitter people use to tweet and run. I thought fans would embrace the honor. I was wrong.

I have now read and heard three days of heated discourse about the plans to honor Kentucky. And I am truly baffled by the distaste that some in Greater Cincinnati have for UK basketball and more specifically, its loud, proud and often arrogant fans.

I’ve seen fans write that they had tickets for Tuesday’s game, but wouldn’t attend because Kentucky’s team was being honored. Another fan said he was done with the Reds because of what they were doing.

On my way home Monday, I was listening to Lance McAlister on 700 WLW, and there was a 56 year old caller who seems to become physically ill when he sits next to a fan wearing a Kentucky jersey. He said he wouldn’t go near GABP Tuesday, even if he was offered Diamond seats, the best seats in the house.

What the hell am I missing? Have we become so uncivil, so intolerant, so misguided that we can’t appreciate what a school or a team has achieved?

For the record, I’m a native of Ohio who now lives in Indiana. But I drive through Kentucky every day. I pay my son’s tuition to Northern Kentucky University. I live on the minestrone at Pompilio’s, and love to chat with the ladies at Atlas Cleaners on Monmouth Street. Reality Tuesday in Park Hills pours my coffee. Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio are part of my everyday life.

I’ll admit that I was thrilled on the night of Dec. 10 when a last second basket by Indiana handed Kentucky its first loss of the season. I was ecstatic because it meant that Indiana was again a viable program. It wasn’t because I hated Kentucky. I watched in person when the same two teams played in the NCAA tournament in Atlanta and it was one of the most memorable games I’ve seen in years. I was proud that both teams were from our region. They had players who competed hard and clean. They featured two of the best coaches in the entire country. The crowd at the George Dome was Red, Blue and unbelievably loud.

(For the record, I went Ohio U., that docile, fun loving, beer guzzling institution in Athens. So I have no dog in this fight.)

I’ve been surrounded by Kentucky basketball fans many times in my life. They’re hard to miss. If their team plays in a big game, they show up. The time zone doesn’t matter. The opponent doesn’t matter. And it wasn’t just this year’s team. They were there when the team was coached by Rupp, Hall, Sutton,Pitino and Smith. (I do think a few jumped ship when Billy Gillespie was gumming up the works). Yes! They can be overbearing. Yes! They can be completely unreasonable about their team. They think they get screwed on every call.

With that said, have you ever sat next to an Ohio State football fan? I think they put the O in Obnoxious. I don’t want to shift the focus to Ohio State, but I believe they have the same kind of rabid, intense, unwavering, and often, hard to stomach fans. They just love their team and their school, and what’s wrong with that?

A UC fan has no right to criticize a school with a strong following. UC fans were in very short supply until Bob Huggins came to town. And once he was sent packing, those fans abandoned the program with a vengeance. Instead of supporting their school, they’d rather take cheap shots at others.

In my 33 years in Cincinnati, I’ve always marveled at how much worthless time, energy and effort is spent fighting about issues involving race, religion and sexual orientation. It’s simply exhausting. Now let’s add Kentucky hatred to the mix.

Geography creates the other divide. That river makes us think that Ohio and Kentucky are two different countries. Forget that most people think Indiana is on the other side of the world. Kentucky was sure a good destination when there was cheap booze to be bought. Back when I first came to town, I couldn’t count the number of times I had to give directions to some clueless Buckeye who was trying to find a Kentucky strip joint.

To backtrack, I laughed, listening to this lost soul on the radio tonight. He traced his anger back to December of 1983 when Kentucky visited Riverfront Coliseum and beat the UC Bearcats 24 11. I was at that game and yes, it was a dog. Tony

Yates had absolutely no talent at UC while Joe B. Hall came to town with Sam Bowie, Mel Turpin, etc. Yates slowed down the ball. It was his only chance. After the game, Hall said he was disappointed by UC’s approach because it didn’t let the UK fans see their players perform. He wasn’t sure he wanted to play UC again. Get a life Joe B! Or perhaps get a shot clock, which college basketball did soon after that.

Anyway, this caller was still ticked off because of Hall’s remarks that belittled the Bearcats. They deserved to be belittled. They weren’t any good. Can you imagine still being bothered by a coach’s remarks 29 years later? If I ever act that way, just take me out back and put me out of my misery. I’ll show you where I keep the 12 gauge.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard this argument before. Many fans say that UK refused to play UC after that stall ball game. Not true. They have played at least four times since, maybe more. UC fans should be more concerned why they can’t get a basketball date with Ohio State. Don’t rip the team in Lexington, when the behemoth in Columbus won’t give you the time of day.

I hadn’t planned on going to the Reds game tonight, but I’ve changed my mind. This native Buckeye turned Hoosier is staying long enough to clap my hands and give the Kentucky coaches and players the recognition they deserve. I hope others do the same, even if they’re not wearing blue.

And I still believe it was a marketing plus for the Reds. Let the fans rant on radio and through the un social media. It gave the Reds three days of free publicity. Simply brilliant!

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October 19th, 2014 at 2:32 am

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