The Mark Stoops ‘toxic’ saga isn’t going away anytime soon.
In case you missed it, Stoops said after Saturday’s win over Vanderbilt that guiding a program towards a positive direction can be hard to do without the support of fans.
“The toxic, negative stuff, (it’s) very hard to turn a program when people turn that way and turn on the kids and turn on the players,” Stoops said. “Coaches deserve to be criticized. That’s our job, it’s part of our job, but the players and getting toxic and negative and being all that, that’s not going to help get this program to where we want it to go. I promise you.”
Those ‘toxic’ remarks have fueled a lot of debate as to whether Stoops was calling out negative fans, if he was firing back for the rumors that shall not be said here, or if this was merely Stoops putting a target on himself to take pressure off of his players (I agree with Will’s theory).
Well, one thing is for sure: Those who have seen the toxicity up close are speaking out now. KSTV’s T.J. Beisner caught some remarks from the mother of UK cornerback Jordan Griffin that adds fuel to the ‘toxic’ fire that Stoops started:
On one hand, I think Stoops was 100% right to call out any fan that acts in a deplorable way towards any human being, let alone UK players.
On the other hand, he didn’t exactly pick a good time to do it. Even with UK winning three of their last four games, Stoops is still squarely on the hot seat, and it’s really hard to see him being back if UK loses at home to Mississippi State next week, but that’s a debate for another day.
Point being, Stoops may have been right in his assessment of how turning a program around with toxic fans can be difficult, but his comments ultimately did nothing more than spark a fire that’s now giving anyone who negatively recruits against UK more ammo to do so.
And frankly, any human being who is deplorable enough to treat other human beings in a manner that requires Stoops to voice his frustration, I doubt said individuals are going to stop doing so because Stoops called them ‘toxic.’ If anything, they may do it more now that they’ve incited a reaction out of Stoops.
All that we’re ultimately going to be left with are angry fans who think Stoops is making excuses while on the hot seat, ammunition for anyone who recruits against UK, and just more negativity surrounding a program that can’t seem to get enough of it.
I would hope that, in light of Stoops’ comments, someone like Mitch Barnhart, Rich Brooks, or anyone that has clout at UK would come out and voice some support for what he said.
Whether you like it or not, Stoops simply isn’t in a position to make much of a dent in the negative fanbase when he’s firmly on the hot seat. Stoops and his players just need to ignore the noise and keep working through whatever adversity they face.
For what it’s worth, I think they do just that and keep doing so for at least one more season. UK has pushed through a lot of crap just to get to 3-3, and they’re now in position to not only save Stoops’ job, but truly get this program going in the direction everyone wants it to go.
And the negative fans: You can continue to sit at home on Twitter and keep complaining while Stoops does so.