John Calipari Pleads Strongly: “just wear a mask”


University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari met the media, virtually, via Zoom this morning for a session that focused primarily on his recently having partnered with the McClendon Foundation.

Calipari will work with other college basketball coaches to help launch the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative (follow this link for more), but the main takeaway from the session was Coach Cal’s pleas to “just wear a mask.” The Wildcats head man said this phrase a few times, and he’s absolutely right to keep repeating this message. Simply put, a lot of people are just not listening, and they need to finally “get it.”

The experts at the Center for Disease Control have made this abundantly clear, over and over, put a mask on! Not only to protect yourself, but to protect others. The United State only comprises about 4% of the population, but we’ve accounted for close to a quarter of the pandemic’s cases and deaths.

“I hope you guys all print this: our state has done a great job; and now we got to turn it up,” John Calipari said of how the Commonwealth of Kentucky has flattened the curve.

“And it may not matter because there’s so many other states that are losing their minds and things are going haywire, but our state, and it’s four million of us, let’s just protect each other, wear the mask. Everybody says it. It’s not a statement. Just wear the mask.”

“It protects you and protects somebody else.”

This isn’t hard people! When you look at the #Freedumb crowd, the people who believe that being told to wear a mask is somehow seriously oppressing them, you’ll see that most lean to the right politically, and quite often, far to the right. So if a deeply red (politically) state like Kentucky can figure it, there’s hope for everybody else.

John Calipari is definitely getting his message out to the correct target audience, and he wasn’t done. Coach Cal went into detail on his mask wearing habits.

“Just wear the mask. If you’re out, if you’re in a building. If you’re outside walking around, I get it, but if you’re in a building, you’re in any kind of position where you’re around people, put the mask on,” Calipari continued.

“When I walked the boardwalk, I’ll have the mask with me. I had it in my pocket. And now if I go by a group of people, I put the mask on. If I’m walking, I’m by myself and there’s no one but the seagulls, I’m not going to put the mask on.”

“If I’m at the beach and we’re separated and it’s just us, I’ll take the mask off. I would tell everybody we got to get through this and unless things start to change – what everybody’s hope is – it’s going to be hard to happen.”

We’re all in this horrendous year, defined and shaped by a nightmarish pandemic, together. Alhthough we’re all in the same boat, we’re in different decks and different classes on that boat. But the boat we’re all on is sinking rapidly, so we need to all realize that it is not “to each his own” or “live and let live.”

Put your mask on, and listen to the scientists.

Calipari added: “everybody’s got to do what they can, but we also got to follow the science. Gotta follow the science. 

The states now known on Wall St. by the acronym FCAT (Florida, California, Arizona, Texas) are having to scale back re-opening, if not shut down again because they re-opened too quickly. Financial gurus are estimating that as much as 30% of our economy could be forced into closing again, and well, if people just followed the advice, and did what they were told to do with social distancing and wearing a mask.

There was more light-hearted fare consumed during this online presser as well. Calipari made some jokes about his mulletlike #LockdownHair and his #QuarantineBeard.

“Hey, my wife said it’s business in the front, party in the back,” he said of his new ‘do.

“I just don’t want to get it cut until everything is underway. The beard—I trimmed it down. But you know, I may keep the hair going for a while. I’m in shorts and a T-shirt, flip flops and my hair’s everywhere. I got holes in my jeans. I don’t know what it means.”

A reporter remarked that he slightly resembled a 1980s QB with his new hairdo.

“I may shave the beard. I don’t know,” Calipari added.

“My wife wants me to shave the beard, which means there’s probably little chance I will. The haircut, everybody’s on me, ‘You got to cut your hair. Your hair looks like [expletive].’ That’s what you’re saying to me, and I’m like, ‘I may not cut my hair for a while.’ I don’t know. 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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