Death Threats Overshadow Great Game, Team, Entire Kentucky Fan Base

    Kentucky fans threatening referee John Higgins' life have overshadowed a great game, the Wildcats team, and a fan base that prides itself on being better than such abhorrent behavior.

    March 29, 2017

    Kentucky fans threatening referee John Higgins’ life have overshadowed a great game, the Wildcats team, and a fan base that prides itself on being better than such abhorrent behavior.


    It isn’t unusual for fans of college sports to cross the line of social decorum. For unbeknownst reasons, students and fanatics love to burn things after a big victory or loss, riot, and turn their own town upside down.

    Lexington, Kentucky is no stranger to this phenomenon, with national championships being greeted with celebrations involving the sort of debauchery usually reserved for Mardi Gras. This time, though, it is Wildcats fans going too far by threatening the life of a referee.

    As has been reported, John Higgins, one of three referees in Kentucky’s 75-73 loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight on Sunday, has been receiving threatening calls at both his office and home. He has met with law enforcement officials to discuss the situation. Big Blue Nation has filled his company’s Facebook page – now taken down – with bad reviews and threats.

    This is a bad look for a fan base that takes pride on its passion. The select few – to be clear, this behavior is not representative of the majority of Kentucky fans – are making the rest look bad, and along with it, the university and basketball program as a whole.

    Their actions also take away from what a group of players accomplished this season. At times, there was not a more fun team to watch than Kentucky, with De’Aaron Fox putting on the turbo button as he glided down the court, the unstoppable Malik Monk turning it on at a moment’s notice, and players such as Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo and Dominique Hawkins pitching in for a team flush with talent and determination.

    Of course, head coach John Calipari did not help the outrage that fans were already feeling with his postgame comments by stating, “You know, it’s amazing that we were in that game where they practically fouled out my team. Amazing that we had a chance.”

    Calipari could not have known what was going to happen next, but in a state where everything he says is the gospel he could have kept his comments a bit more reserved.

    He was still in the moment after a tough battle and defeat, and things are said. The fans’ messages and calls, on the other hand, kept coming hours and days after the final score was settled.

    Not only is it beyond pathetic to threaten a man’s life due to a game, but it should be a sign that the guilty persons might need to reevaluate their own lives and priorities. We all get upset after a loss – I know I do – but to take it to such a personal level is unconscionable.

    To those who were so angry to attack Higgins, try something else. Go outside. Read a book. Realize that you have family or friends or both that love you.

    The fallout from this has out-shined an instant classic between two of the top programs in NCAA history. It takes away from two groups of players that played 40 minutes of exhilarating basketball.

    Most importantly, it makes the program that these offending fans love to brag about look shameful. Kentucky fans are better than that, and those that have threatened Higgins should be ostracized by the majority of Wildcats fans that view them the same way the rest of the country is looking at them: with high contempt and disdain.

    You know the old phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Unfortunately for Big Blue Nation, these dolts are the cover right now.

    MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions

    DOWNLOAD THE APP

    Have the full Stadium experience

    Watch with friends

    Get rewards

    Join the discussion