Pitino right person to message Kentucky basketball fans

Rick Pitino may or may not have shown the middle finger to some fans in Lexington following the Louisville vs. Kentucky basketball game. The quality of the cell phone video is bad, making it impossible to verify anything.

The only thing for certain is that many UK fans want to believe it happened. So many of them have been obsessing about it on the radio talk shows the past couple of days. If that’s what they believe, there’s no changing their minds. They believe a lot of incredulous things about their program.

Rick Pitino knows UK fans well.
Rick Pitino knows UK fans well.

A spur of the moment impulse whatever it was, following a bitter defeat to a hated arch rival. Who knows what abuse some UK fan(s) may have directed toward Pitino as he headed for the locker room. There’s obviously still a lot of hate for the former Kentucky coach in Lexington.

Pitino was someone they admired, respected and idolized.  As effective as John Calipari has been at UK, one does not sense the same high levels of adoration or affection. The distinct impression is that he’s more of a hired gun than a beloved figure, with all the winking and nodding when his name is mentioned.

Many UK fans have never forgiven Pitino for leaving to take a job in the NBA. They hate him much more for taking the University of Louisville job. Doesn’t matter that John Calipari took UK’s recruiting to another level, they consider themselves the jilted lovers, the ones he left behind.

They trash him regularly, every chance they get, justified or otherwise, making up stuff if they have to, their collective attitude epitomized by Matt Jones of the Kentucky Sports Radio. Jones was quick to capitalize on the grainy video, tweeting about it within a couple of hours after the game. His followers unashamedly lap it up.

Some UofL fans are also hoping that Pitino actually did make an obscene gesture to the UK fan base. If so, the action would reflect the collective wish of many University of Louisville fans. Not that such a gesture would be a great display of civility or sportsmanship, but if any individual were justified in sending UK fans a message it would be Rick Pitino.

If some Kentucky fans want so badly to believe the worst, they may want to heed the message and follow it to their desired conclusion.