Letters to the editor/coach firing: Nov. 11

November 11, 2012 

Money valued over coach's education of student-athletes

In University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's open letter to "Big Blue Nation," he states, "After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season."

This is confusing, considering those who know Coach Joker Phillips. As someone who has seen Phillips interact with his student-athletes, I (and many others) can attest to the fact that he treats his student-athletes as young men and extensions of his own family, not simply commodities.

One of his over-arching goals is to model for these young people what it looks like to be a good and decent human being, to serve others and to give back to their communities. Of course, he wants them to be good football players, but for him, that doesn't come at the cost of their overall well-being and character development.

So, if this is an answered prayer for Barnhart, I'm confused about what God he's praying to about the state of the athletic program. Clearly for the department, dollars always trump doing the right thing for the student-athletes.

And, as much as this is the reality of our diseased and exploitative sports culture, it's still incredibly unfortunate and not the side, I would argue, God falls on.

Did God like Coach Rich Brooks better? He got a fourth year, despite three really bad ones

Eric Carter

Georgetown


Fair-weather fans

Many UK football fans are only fair-weather friends. When they fail to show up for games and/or leave early when the team is behind, they show that they are not true-blue fans. Real fans would be there to support the team until the end of the game, no matter the score. Real fans would be yelling support throughout a game. I feel sorry for the players that they do not have more true-blue fans. Players come out and give their all; where is their support? Come on, Kentucky fans. Get with it!

Polly Jo Green

Frankfort


Who's protecting whom?

On the firing of Joker Phillips, the University of Kentucky athletics director wrote, "Right or wrong, we must respond to those realities to protect the 22 programs and 500-plus student-athletes for whom we provide."

Nice grammar, but he got it backward. The student-athletes support him and the athletics administration at a very nice level.

As far as I am concerned, they support them for slave wages, the possibility of being injured for life or, potentially, facing death.

John C. Wolff Jr.

Lexington


Coverage overblown

With all the news going on in the world and the day before the presidential election, why did the Herald-Leader find it necessary to headline on the front page "JOKER FIRED"? Everyone knew the man was going to lose his job, and it was announced Sunday.

Coach Joker Phillips has served this community well and neither he nor his family should have had to wake up to that headline. And incidentally, you do have a sports section. Perhaps sports-related stories could go there. Is there no room for compassion in the news?

Joe and Ann Catt

Lexington


It's the ticket prices

Much has been said about the very low ticket renewals, and attendance, during 2011 and 2012. University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart attributes this to the poor nationwide economy, probably a factor for some.

However, many non-renewals are blamed on "Barnhart economy" with the continual rises in ticket prices, parking stickers; and, especially a resentment in the required donation (an oxymoron, for sure) to the K-Fund, as a condition for the privilege of purchase.

Local media, as well as the AD, implied dissatisfaction with Coach Joker Phillips as a contributing factor for low fan support.

Prior to the 2011 season, after 37 consecutive years of devoting each fall to Wildcat football as season ticket holders, we did not renew, realizing there are other autumn activities in life to enjoy. Escalating costs was a slight consideration in our decision, but the record of Coach Phillips was never a factor.

Of our friends who also dropped their season tickets, none cited Phillips as part of their reason. We still attend some games, when it suits our schedule, and remain as always true blue fans.

The 2012 Cats won't finish with a winning season, nor go bowling. However, there is still much motivational football, with the seniors playing to leave a legacy as a winning program, and the underclassmen to set a winning foundation for the future. Barnhart should have given Phillips at least another year. Go Cats!

Don & Pat Dampier

Georgetown


Chandler hurt himself

Ben Chandler has but one person to blame for his loss to Andy Barr, and that is himself.

He spent nearly his entire campaign trying to make his opponent look bad instead of reminding Kentuckians what he had done for them or could do for them.

I am a registered Democrat, but was so turned off by the negative campaign ads that I wrote both Chandler and Barr and gave my vote to the Independent candidate Randolph Vance.

Chandler and Barr should be ashamed of the way they handled themselves. If the only way to make yourself look good is to make your opponent look bad, then you don't have the character to represent me or Kentucky anyway.

That is exactly the way I will be deciding my vote in the future and I hope many others do the same.

Larry Willoughby

Lexington


Insane election vote

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. Barack Obama wins, America loses — $16 trillion in debt and counting.

That is $51,607 per person in this past election. A family of four will owe $206,428 of the federal debt. Can anybody say bankruptcy?

What will another four years of Obama bring us? More debt. More despair. More unemployment.

Insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I've come to the conclusion that the majority of American voters are certifiably insane.

Congratulations, the inmates have taken over the asylum. It's a shame America didn't follow Kentucky's lead on Election Day. If more had, we could have saved a nation.

Bill McHatton

Lexington

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