John Calipari Handles Bill O’Reilly’s Race Baiting Interview With Aplomb

The below clip of John Calipari and Bill O’Reilly is less about the coach and more about the interviewer. Calipari made the media rounds on Monday to promote his new book, but while on “The O’Reilly Factor ” ended up answering coded questions about rape, drugs and his players’ music selections.

The video starts off with O’Reilly tying disciplinary problems to hip hop and rap – because, obviously, kids who listen to country or rock are much more likely to be respectful gentlemen.

…the coaching has coarsened, you teach at the University of Kentucky it’s coarsened. I don’t know if you listen to this rap stuff and hip hop stuff. Has that changed their attitude? I mean, how do you impose discipline on kids who are pretty much gonna do what they want to do.

O’Reilly then goes on to ask whether players cuss at the coach, and how Calipari controls such actions. From there the discussion turns to how a coach can protect his players from “hustlers.”

So they go out with a girl and the girl said hey you raped me. There is drugs everywhere. They are giving the kids drugs for free. How do you keep them away from that?  

To his credit, John Calipari answered the questions with aplomb. He’s well accustomed to defending his team’s academic standing – probably not so much explaining how to handle those damn kids with their rap music, or the generous hustlers who love giving away free drugs. The coach deftly danced around the absurdity, while giving his interviewer enough meat to chew on.

O’Reilly’s comes off like a man who learned everything he needs to know about young black men from “Reasonable Doubt” and “Boyz n the Hood.” The thing is, he’s not that ignorant. He knows his audience, and the coded, race-baiting terms play well. Nevertheless, it’s disturbing.

The interview seems especially naive when considering that Kentucky’s latest crop of players includes kids whose working-class parents own a car dealership, a kid who was mentored by a billionaire, and a kid who grew up under the roof of a future NFL Hall of Famer. They are a far cry from the thuggish, uncouth ne’er-do-wells O’Reilly carefully frames today’s athletes as.

Alas, O’Reilly pandered to his audience, Calipari pushed his book, and I’m here talking about the interview. It was a win for all parties involved. A coach couldn’t have drawn it up better.

[Video: Complex/Transcription: Deadspin]

  • Samsula Farmer

    Once again take a liberal view of the situation. The questions were well posed. The responses even better. So If we can’t openly discuss what is a prevalent issue in college sports without it being called “Racist” or “Race Baiting”; then why do we bother. Or is that the way you would rather have it; “dont ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies”