Jeff Pearlman

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The University of Kentucky masters the art of bullying

Not sure how many people here saw this piece. Apparently the other day a man named DeWayne Peevy, the head of Kentucky’s men’s basketball media relations department, banned the student newspaper’s beat writer from attending an event.

Did he misquote someone? No.

Slug Coach Cal? No.

Sleep with a cheerleader? No.

His crime? Calling two fellow students to see if they were on the team.

Seriously—that’s it. Aaron Smith, an editor with the Kernel, found the phone numbers in UK’s student directory for two walk-ons, Brian Long and Sam Malone. He then called them and asked if they were, in fact, walk-ons.

They were.

Peevy was peeved. According to UK guidelines, media members can’t interviews “student-athletes” (quotations intended) without first going through the school. Which led to my favorite moment in the article—Peevy’s assertion that the policy exists so “student athletes are allowed to be student athletes.”

When they’re not flying a chartered jet.

When they’re not missing 800 classes per semester to throw a ball through a hoop.

When they’re not being cheered by 20,000 fans.

When they’re not receiving massages in the team’s MSG-esque facilities.

When they’re not skipping out once the season ends.

You can’t have it both ways. If you want to run a professional program, which UK does, admit it and treat your athletes for what they are: Future pros stopping by for a week. But to thug the student newspaper—real students!—is a joke.

The guy should be ashamed.

  • Sportswriting Refugee

    This kind of crap – having to go through handlers to talk to other human beings, especially ones years younger than me – is one reason I soured on the business. I understand it’s a necessary evil at times just from a logistical standpoint, but my pride and ego can’t accommodate groveling.

  • Mike Engle

    Well, if you can track down the journalist, you might have something to talk about on the Quaz…

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life