Maybe I'm old fashioned -- OK, everyone who knows me can now quit laughing -- but I believe dirty laundry, family disharmony, family feuds, family discontent, etc ... all of these things should be kept tightly within the (sometimes) uncomfortable confines of the family unit. The family works it out, whatever the problem might be, but what a family doesn't do is announce to the entire world the problems that beset the family, and point fingers at other family members.
The "Cardinal Rule of Family," though, is to never, ever stab a family member in the back. Regardless of how egregiously one has been treated, a true big blue family member should never stick-it to a blue-blood-bleeding brother (say that fast three times).
Unless one's name is Zipp Duncan or Christian Johnson.
Duncan, an outstanding Wildcat offensive lineman ('05, '07-'09) from Elizabethtown High School, and Johnson, a mostly outstanding o-lineman ('05-'07, '09) during his time at UK, have recently tweeted their displeasure with the way the Kentucky football season is unfolding. Actually, if "voicing their displeasure" was all the duo had done, I would have no qualms, but instead of offering encouragement or perhaps a "wow, these guys are really struggling," both players got up-close-and-personal in Twitter attacks aimed at current team members, as well as coach Joker Phillips.
Here is a sampling of the classless, tasteless, bush league tweets from Duncan and Johnson:
Zipp Duncan -- "Max Smith w/ STEVIE WONDER vision"
That's just indefensible. To single out a true freshman back-up quarterback in that way is the act of a child. An angry, frustrated child.
Zipp Duncan -- "I hope our DB's know how to stop, drop and roll ... cause they are getting burnt"
While I do give Duncan an "A" for creativity, he once again gets personal with a player, this time a group of players; to again call-out a teammate in such a fashion is simply inexcusable.
Christian Johnson -- "yeah sis ... it was already rebuilt ... that's what (rich) brooks did ... joker tried to fix something that wasn't broke ..."
After asking myself, "is he for real?" I would then ask Mr. Johnson, "so you think going 14-26 in the SEC, as UK did during your time on campus, exemplifies a 'rebuilt program?'" After sitting through his stutters and stammers for a few minutes, I would then offer this follow-up, "Christian, how about losing to a bad Indiana team 38-14, or losing 59-28 to Louisville, or 49-0 to LSU, or maybe losing twice to Florida, one a 63-5 debacle, the other a 41-7 shredding ... do those types of losses, losses which occurred during your stay in Lexington, scream rebuilt program to you?'"
In reality, Johnson's tweet is typical disenchanted-fan hyperbole, but he should know better than to espouse something so unintentionally comical, and patently untrue, even if his reason for his disenchantment is righteous. Simply put, Johnson needs to stick to that which he knows ... pancaking d-linemen.
Let me be clear, I have no problem with any ex-player voicing their opinion, whether it be pro-UK or otherwise, but for Duncan to get so incredibly personal, and Johnson to make such an utterly ridiculous public statement in an attempt to pile-on Joker Phillips, is unacceptable behavior for someone who was a part of the Kentucky football program for five years (as both were), five months or five minutes.
Where I come from, teammates don't bad-mouth or attempt to embarrass each other. And although Duncan and Johnson are no longer on the team, they are still very much part of a team. A team and coach, by the way, being mortared from every angle, by nearly every Wildcat football fan on God's good green Earth. From talk radio, to blogs, to TV, negativity is everywhere, so much so, that negativity has become ubiquitous, one can't escape it, which I understand is to be expected when the team has performed so poorly ... but why pile-on? Why, instead of possibly helping the matter, did Duncan and Johnson choose to degrade? Maybe they don't like Joker, or don't like Newton, or don't like Max Smith, or don't like Anthony Mosley or Martavius Neloms (two of UK's DB's), or maybe they miss the spotlight, whatever the reason, it's not a good enough reason to forgo one's loyalty to one's school and teammates.
Considering both of these players were terrific linemen, perhaps a more constructive use of their time might be to offer a few suggestions to their teammates, most of which both Duncan and Johnson played with, instead of throwing guys under the bus. Perhaps some encouragement, either privately or publicly, would be a more appropriate course of action. It's much better than showing one's backside for all the world to see.
While I feel contempt for the actions of the two players, I do understand and empathize with their frustration. I understand where the tweets came from ... they're pulling their hair out, not believing what they're seeing on the field ... just like the rest of us ... that I understand. I understand both of these young men. Frustration boils over, and they begin to lash out, but instead of thinking of the harm they might be doing, they instinctively post their thoughts on Twitter, something I'm sure they've done hundreds of times. It's almost become reflexive for some people ... see something, do something, feel something ... tweet it.
I choose, though, to believe both players, Duncan and Johnson, tweeted their frustration because of their love and appreciation for the football program. The tweets came from a good place -- their concern for the football program -- but the execution of the frustration was all wrong.
Do they deserve execution at sun rise? Certainly not, but perhaps some of their UK football brethren might privately share with Duncan and Johnson the need to keep a positive, one team-one family state-of-mind, even through this terribly disappointing time.
Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!