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By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve not always agreed with Bobby KnightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s words or actions, but at least I always believed he was courageous.
Guess what? I was wrong.
If Knight was courageous, he would still be coming to Rupp Arena Saturday as part of ESPNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s GameDay crew. Instead, ESPN is making a lame excuse for why Knight canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come and face a Rupp Arena crowd of over 20,000 after blasting UK coach John Calipari earlier this year.
Knight seemed so brave when he was on TV questioning how UK could hire Calipari after Memphis and Massachusetts had been ordered to vacate Final Four berths when he was the coach and taking aim at one-and-done players in college like Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, two of CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former players at Memphis.
Now a scheduling conflict will keep him away from Rupp Arena. And donkeys are going to fly, too, if you believe that excuse.
Knight is working at Minnesota Thursday when Tubby SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team will host Michigan. He will work again the following Tuesday when Kansas plays at Texas A&M. Guess there is no way to get from Minnesota to Kentucky on Friday and then from Kentucky to Texas on Sunday. That would be SUCH a hard travel schedule compared to a SEC team playing a Thursday night home game and then having to travel for a Saturday afternoon away game.
And the nation will be hanging on those Minnesota-Michigan and Kansas-Texas A&M games much more than they would a Kentucky versus Tennessee game that features Calipari versus nemesis Bruce Pearl Ã¢â‚¬â€ and certainly the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s college basketball fans would not be interested in seeing Knight having to go face-to-face with Calipari or the Kentucky fan base.
ESPN is bringing its other stars. Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, Hubert Davis and Digger Phelps will be on the GameDay crew that will be live at 11 a.m. That night Dick Vitale, Dan Shulman and Erin Andrews will work the game.
The cowardly Knight will be able to kick back, take break from that rigorous schedule that has him working two games in five days and watch how professionals work. Bilas, Phelps and Vitale have all made controversial statements in the past. None have been afraid to face a coach and/or fans for what they have said.
Knight is just a typical bully. He likes to have everything his way and if not, he goes running for cover until he can find another fight he can win. Knight knew the Kentucky fans were going to blister his butt and he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take the heat.
ESPN can make all the scheduling excuses it wants for night, but the bottom line is that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just afraid of a confrontation in Rupp Arena that he knows he cannot win.
* * *
Since Knight wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t show up, let him know what you think about him not coming. Post your thoughts here and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll forward them to ESPN to let the network know what UK fans think about KnightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s move.