Turner Sports and CBS recently announced the broadcasting roster for the four separate Team Stream telecasts for this year’s Final Four.  It’s a conglomeration of national announcers, local media personalities, and former players.  But there’s one name that’s creating a bit of consternation amongst the fans that the networks are hoping to serve – former Kentucky guard Rex Chapman.

Chapman is one of the announcers that is serving in his second stint as a Team Stream announcer for the Kentucky channel.  Last year he called Wisconsin-Kentucky for Turner’s Kentucky Teamcast and this year he will be doing the same.  But Kentucky fans aren’t enthused about having Chapman back on the call this time around.  Just how bad is it?  Kentucky fans got the hashtag #NoToRex trending after learning of the assignment.

What has created this resistance to Chapman’s assignment this year?  Why are some Kentucky fans so outraged?

First, there was Chapman’s infamous tweet on the night of last year’s national championship game that John Calipari was off to coach the Lakers win or lose.  He even included the hashtag #DoneDeal.  That proved to be the worst reporting since the days of And I’m Amateur Sports Reporter Rob Lowe.  As you may have heard, Calipari is still the coach of the Wildcats.

Tweeting out false reports and rumors about a national championship head coach leaving for the NBA isn’t exactly a way to endear yourself to a fanbase, especially as an alum of the program.

Second, and more troubling, are Chapman’s personal issues.  In September, he was arrested for allegedly shoplifting $14000 worth of product from an Apple Store.  However, at this point Chapman has not been formally charged and the case is back in the hands of the police for further investigation.  That doesn’t mean that Chapman won’t be charged as the case is still under review.  If he is formally charged, Chapman could face multiple felony counts.  When he was arrested, he was booked on FOURTEEN felony counts for allegedly stealing the products and then selling them at a pawn shop.  After his arrest, Chapman then entered into a substance abuse treatment program.

At this point, it’s worth asking why CBS/Turner would bring Chapman aboard their broadcast once again when they just indefinitely suspended Greg Anthony after his own arrest in January.  Anthony reached a deal to perform 32 hours of community service in exchange for having charges dropped, but he remains indefinitely suspended by CBS and Turner Sports.  How can the networks reconcile suspending Anthony while also hiring Chapman, considering the case against him still seems to be well and truly open?  Solely from that perspective, Chapman’s assignment this weekend working for TNT is a tough one to justify.

But beyond those serious questions for the network executives, there’s the simple truth that Chapman is not a popular figure amongst Kentucky basketball fans at the moment.  Fans don’t forget things like falsely reporting your coach is leaving to join the Lakers on the night of the title game.  Big Blue fans also don’t want to see Chapman representing their program with his outstanding legal issues.

The whole point of these Team Stream telecasts is to attract the fans of the programs involved.  If Kentucky fans are going to stay away from TNT because of Chapman’s presence… what’s the point in even having a Kentucky Team Stream?

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