Thursday was media day for Kentucky basketball, and John Calipari likely arrived all ready to talk about his Wildcats team, which once again looks like a national title contender thanks to a roster of talented freshmen.
But reporters on hand had other plans. Calipari was asked repeatedly about the FBI investigation that torpedoed rival Rick Pitino, until he grew exasperated and demanded a basketball question. When longtime beat writer Jerry Tipton said he had another FBI-related inquiry, Calipari attempted to call on someone else. Tipton, still holding the microphone, replied that, “This is a media day, not coach day. I am entitled to ask a question. You can then not answer it.”
Calipari allowed Tipton to ask the the question, which ended up being somewhat of a softball, an easy opportunity for the coach to reassure his fans that Kentucky had done nothing wrong. But by that point, Calipari was not going to offer anything short of a huffy response, so the following exchange ensued:
Tipton: The FBI has reportedly expanding into looking at Nike. Kentucky is a Nike school. What reassurance would you give your fans in Big Blue Nation if they’re anxious about what this could mean.
Calipari: Well again, you’re acting like you know something that I don’t know.
Calipari: We don’t know, what you’re saying, if it’s true. Do we know if it’s true?
Tipton: It has been reported.
Calipari: Oh, that makes it true. I have no comment to it. There is no one, we haven’t been contacted, the NCAA hasn’t contacted us. We’re going about our business and coaching this team.
Calipari then sought out another basketball question, which making a crack that, “it isn’t my day.”
Jerry Tipton just checked John Calipari.
"This is a media day, not coach day." pic.twitter.com/R6Pf718dbn
— Clayton Abernathy (@ClaySTV1) October 12, 2017
Calipari is generally pretty gregarious and quotable, at least when he wants to be, but like every other famous coach in America, he’s occasionally prone to snapping at a reporter. And when any authority figure attempts to bully the media into the type of coverage he wants, it’s important that reporters push back. Credit to Tipton for insisting on asking his question.
Calipari better hope his program doesn’t become implicated in the corruption scandal the FBI is investigating, because if it does he will probably have to answer more than a few questions about it.