Dear Tom Keegan,
You're a hack. I know this isn't the first time somebody has said this about you because it's not the first time I have said this about you. But whatever this is that you wrote about Naadir Tharpe cements it as a fact. If you need more page views, write better. Stooping to this level is embarrassing for the school, program, and university when your online presence is located at www.kusports.com.
I'm not sure where to start in reviewing the trash that you published, so I might as well start at the top.
Interviewing him for three years, I never once heard Naadir Tharpe say, "At this juncture." But there it was in the press release announcing his transfer, so he absolutely, 100 percent must have said it.
Prepared statements are almost always written by a group of people and the language agreed upon before the statement is released. You know this but you still decided to choose the language used as a way to kick a young man while he was down. Not just a young man but a young man that has worked hard for the program that keeps you employed. A young man making one of the most important decisions he has ever made.
Not only that, Tharpe used the phrase "Due to extenuating circumstances" for what I believe possibly could be the first time in his life. And he used them both in the same paragraph. Clearly, he devoted a great deal of time in crafting his quote. He must have told himself: "I shan't treat this matter with anything but utmost gravity."
You continue with the language attack, nothing better to write about a player that came in and played a critical role in Kansas continuing the streak of Big XII titles? A player that arrived as a freshman and played five and a half minutes a game but worked his tail off in practice to push Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson to be better. A player that never publicly complained about anything while fans were up in arms about certain parts of his game, yet you feel the need to make fun of the statement released by him.
It's the right thing for a father to do, so I'm glad he's doing it. I'm also happy that he'll have two years to complete requirements for a degree. At least I would hope the NCAA does not consider him a hardship case and let him play right away. He'll be able to stay at home more often if he's red-shirting than if he's playing in away games.
To be honest, I was not even aware that Naadir Tharpe had a daughter. I know him as a college basketball player, a very good one at that. I like my sports that way, it makes it easier for me to cheer when things go well and much easier to be angry when things don't go well. If I had known that Naadir Tharpe's daughter had medical issues, I would have been a lot more understanding of his late season slump this year. When something is going on with family, it's tough to focus on a game like basketball. I know the weight I feel when things are hectic in my personal life and I cannot imagine the pressure Tharpe felt when he was trying to play for one of the best programs in the nation and deal with family issues miles away.
Yet instead of commending a young man for choosing to move closer to his daughter where he can be there and see her grow up and endure whatever medical treatment she requires, you mock him. You mock him about earning a degree. You mock him about possibly trying to play this year. Maybe basketball is his outlet from the constant worry and anxiety of dealing with his daughter's health? I hope it does serve as a release for him because there are many things young men do when faced with these pressures that are not nearly as healthy or productive.
I've always liked Tharpe. Friendly, candid, good sense of humor.
Fooled me. And you continued with another mocking of the language used in the statement, more of the same crap that is irrelevant to everything surrounding this situation. It shouldn't surprise me that you stuck with mocking the language, it's an easy crutch for someone that can't do any better.
I do wonder though, would this approach have been taken if Tharpe didn't have tattoos and maybe even a lighter shade of skin? Just over the last week, the NBA has dealt with a firestorm due to racist comments made by Donald Sterling. Some of the outrage felt funny to me considering how well Sterling's personality has been documented but this time he broke a cardinal rule. He didn't hide it in his "private" words, he didn't hide it in a column mocking a young man's use of the Enlgish language. I know you would deny (and hopefully will have to) your attack on Naadir Tharpe as anything close to racist but I just do not believe this would have been written if Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, or Jeff Withey had released a statement using similar language. What's the difference between those guys and Tharpe?
Hopefully, Kansas fans are lucky enough to be able to bid you goodbye after this column. One thing I know that our little site will do is stop linking to anything written by you. We're just one small section of the Internet but I have a hard time believing I'm the only that feels this way.