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The water looks cold - I think I'll jump right in

I was going to enter this as a comment, but it turns out to be too long and detailed for that, so I decided to make it a post.

In a wonderful post just below, JL Blue editorializes on his view of how the more radical elements of the Kentucky fan base have managed to do what radicals always do - drown out dissent and supplant reason with canard and invective.  Let's take a look at some of the kind of comments that are generally made to defend that radicalism:

First of all, there is the "I'm tired of fans being attacked for demanding [pick among "better", "excellence", "accountability", etc.] ..."

JL isn't "bashing fans".  The problem is, too many fans have decided to abandon ethical behavior under the rubric of rescuing the program from "mediocrity".  The sad fact is, the two aren't mutually exclusive, and JL, like me, is bemoaning that fact.

When people like Katman and others decide they are going to make fun of things Smith has no control over, like public speaking, or create rumors that have no foundation but many who hope it is true, they are engaging in unethical behavior that should not be held up as an example of what UK fans represent.  I can say without question that he and his brethren don't represent me.  Yet the loud, repetitive and radical nature of his commentary are allowing the media to turn Katman and his ilk into the face of the Kentucky fan.  I ask all Kentucky fans - is that what we want?

Next up - "The passion of the fan base is what drives this program.  We are just holding Tubby accountable for his actions"

Some UK fans think passion is all that is really required of a fan.  They seem to take the position that fandom gives one the right to abandon ethical behavior as long as it can plausibly be construed to be supporting "excellence", "tradition", or rejecting "mediocrity" - in other words, unrestrained passion in support of achieving desirable aims.

There are endless historical examples of the consequences of unrestrained passion, and virtually all of them are bad.  Unrestrained passion starts wars, creates the conditions for genocide and slavery and in a much more applicable and far less dire example, creates the conditions necessary for NCAA violations.  Passion must be tempered by reason and good will, not just to a notion one embraces, but to all who participate with them.

And now, for the Big Kahuna - "Tradition".  Much of the unctuous behavior we have seen in some Kentucky fans is done in the name of defending a tradition of success.  This is admirable on its face, but when unprincipled smears and rejection of other points of view become the method of defending tradition, the tradition itself is besmirched with the slime of intolerance, the soil of dishonorable behavior and the tar of shameful action.

Too many Kentucky fans have found vent to their frustration by disengaging their heart and brain, and joining in the cacophony of the choleric by applying the Golden Rationalization - "Others do it, so it must be OK".  Most of them are probably fine, upstanding members of their community who have for some reason decided that there are no real consequences to being a fan and spewing forth electronic bile, and so have rejected their moral principles behind the comfortable anonymity of the Internet.  The right to hold and state an opinion has metasticized into the right to discard reason and embrace behavior that few of its authors would countenance in their daily lives - intolerance, angry invective, vituperation to excess.

Wouldn't it be sad if these misguided Souls of the Program became the face of all Kentucky fans?  I have bad news for those who think so - it is already happening.