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An open letter to Joel Pett

Dear Joel:

After having listened and read your defense of the editorial cartoon published in the Lexington Herald-Leader (LHL) the other day, I just wanted to join the legions of UK fans writing you letters about your cartoon, and subsequent defense thereof.

First of all, let me say that I don't care where you went to school, what school you support, or what your opinions about college basketball are. All those things belong to you, and you are entitled to them, 100%. As a member of the media, what you choose to draw about, and how you choose to do it, has nothing to do with me. I don't subscribe to the LHL, although I often read what is written there, particularly about UK sports.

In general, I think most Americans, regardless of their affiliation with the UK basketball team, would defend your right to say what you said, even though it offends most UK fans. No matter how honestly you claim your opinion was expressed, the facts of the circumstances surrounding the UK-IU decision to discontinue the series for now demonstrate that your cartoon was completely unfair and one-sided.

It was also unfair to your employer, who should reasonably expect you to be sensitive to their readership by not being so harsh in your opinions as to alienate them, and thereby harm the business of your employer and their advertisers. It was unfair to John Calipari, who was hired by the University to coach the basketball team and look out for its best interests, not the perceived best interests of college basketball. It was unfair because it blamed the totality of the series discontinuation on UK in general and Calipari in particular, and not one iota to IU, who was equally blameworthy. It was unfair to UK fans, who do not deserve this type of over-the-top derision of their head coach by the newspaper that they patronize.

The most indefensible thing of all, however, was your article in the LHL today purporting to defend your cartoon. There, instead of taking responsibility for your opinion defending your rights as a creative artist to use your drawings to express your viewpoint, you chose to use the lunatic fringe that exists among every partisan group to indict every single one of us in the Big Blue Nation, painting with a vast brush in a way normally reserved for partisan political monomaniacs. While we can all agree that you are entitled to your opinion, however factually challenged, that Calipari is responsible for the series ending, creating a broad-brush painting of UK fans as equivalent to despotic regimes and religious extremism is unforgivable and unfathomable.

Your article is one of the most unethical things I have ever seen published by the LHL. Not only did you fail in your duty to your employer to be sensitive to their business needs in the discharge of your duties, you assailed a large part of their readership as equivalent to the worst elements of society because of a few crackpots while trying to defend it.

As far as I am concerned, your work is tainted by this affair. I'm sure I'm not the only one who holds that opinion, either, and it is richly deserved. Your employer, at the very least, deserved better, but their patrons and advertisers did also. I guess that's too much to expect, but now that I know you have no respect for those you work for, or for those who pay your salary both directly and indirectly, it will be easier to ignore and ridicule your efforts as the work of a narcissistic cretin only Bob Knight could love.


Glenn Logan
Managing Editor,