Hey, let’s show Jeff Sheppard a little respect

At the risk of offending those who dismiss it as a “get-off-my-lawn” mentality I’m going to take up for Jeff Sheppard.

The former UK guard and MVP of the 1998 Final Four sparked a bit of controversy earlier today when KSTV posted a video of Sheppard’s comments at a UK fan convention in Ohio over the weekend. In it, Sheppard said he was not a fan of the one-and-done and he thought there was “maybe” too much celebrating NBA draft picks. Sheppard said he would rather celebrate national titles.

Some UK fans were outraged by the comments, even going as far as mocking Sheppard as old-fashioned, which is of course the go-to insult for those who can’t come up with a better argument.

Former Kentucky baseball coach Keith Madison came to Sheppard’s defense with a tweet saying, “@KySportsRadio Respectfully, Jeff Sheppard spent 5 years at Kentucky helping win 2 championships for the Cats. #LoyaltyShouldBeRespected.”

And when contacted by the C-J’s Kyle Tucker, Sheppard clarified his remarks.

But I don’t see where Sheppard’s original remarks were that out of line. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I think there are Kentucky fans who wish the one-and-done rule would go away — John Calipari is one of them, in fact — and are uneasy with the constant focus on helping get players to the NBA.

In fact, Sheppard’s use of the term “accept it” probably hits close to home for a lot of Kentucky basketball fans, even ones who have gladly celebrated the success of the last four years.

You don’t have to agree with Sheppard’s opinion, but I do think you should respect it.

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Comments

  1. David Hibbard says:

    John, you’re right his comments were not out of line. But he does come off like the “get off of my lawn” guy. The one and done system is what have and everybody just needs to deal with it. I don’t like it but it is what it is. The days of the great 4 year players are gone just like vcr’s and rotary phones are gone. The part that came off bad was the “I can walk into the University of Louisville’s basketball offices and feel more comfortable there because Coach Pitino is there” comment. That’s what has everybody in an uproar. Yes, he has an opinion and we need to respect it. But when you say controversial things, you open yourself to criticism and discourse.

  2. John Clay says:

    As Jeff said, he played for Rick Pitino so it would stand to reason he’d be more comfortable around Pitino than Calipari. Kentucky fans have got to get over their hatred for Pitino. Talk about holding on to an old grudge.

  3. Patrick Cook says:

    I’ll never get over Pitino coming back to Louisville after leaving a potential UK dynasty for glory in the pros. Would fans in North Carolina “get over their hatred” if Roy Williams ended up at Dook or if Coach K defected to UNC? Doubtful. I’ll get over it when “Table Top” Ricky retires.

  4. Patrick+Cook says:

    I’ll never get over Pitino coming back to Louisville after leaving a potential UK dynasty for glory in the pros. Would fans in North Carolina “get over their hatred” if Roy ended up at Dook or would Dook fans embrace Coach K if he defected to UNC? Highly Doubtful. I’ll get over my hatred for “Table Top” Ricky when he retires.

  5. Dan says:

    Jeff isnt the best at wording what he is trying to say. Saying it how he did should bring some pushback. Seems to me Jeff has been hanging out to much in the Lville offices.