As Kentucky Football Rejoices, Randall Cobb’s Twitter Tells a Different Story

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by Heather C. Watson

To all the fans: loved seein Yall come late, love hearing Yall tell us we suck during the game, love that we have to play against our own fans too! Love that we can’t pack the house when we play the #10 team in the nation. It means that much more to me. I love my team! Brotherhood they got my back n I got they back. The rest of Yall can get ready for bball season! Don’t say u support n do all those things! Yeah I’m level 9 pissed… so deal w it! Not blaming all but Yall know who I’m talking abt- Yall know I love #bbn but something needed to be said” – Randall Cobb’s Twitter, 10/17/2010

This morning, the Big Blue Nation awoke with a collective feeling of contentment. The autumn sunshine cast a warm glow around the racetrack, basketball season was so close we could taste it, and we were still congratulating ourselves on sending The Ole Ball Coach back to Columbia with his visor in his hand. Yet, as Lexington’s annual Trifecta weekend (Big Blue Madness, Keeneland, and an evening football game) drew to a close, Kentucky’s superstar Wide Receiver, Randall Cobb, took the opportunity to vent a few frustrations regarding fair-weather fans via his Twitter account. In an uncharacteristically vitriolic attack, Cobb noted that grumbling fans were welcome to sit back and wait for basketball season if they couldn’t provide true support. (These musings have since been removed.)


As Matt Jones over at Kentucky Sports Radio notes, the bitterness toward BBN fans didn’t sound at all like the Randall we know and love. He’s become a fan favorite both because of his amazing athletic prowess and his amiable personality. Yet, in recent weeks, Cobb has been sporting a new edginess to his personality, telling the Herald-Leader that he was “pissed off” about back-to-back midseason losses, and that he planned to use this anger to motivate his teammates. And now, he’s turned that anger on the fans, wondering whether we only support a winning team.

When a marquee player – particularly one who’s received some preliminary Heisman buzz—questions our fanbase’s loyalty, how do we collectively respond? Do we laugh the incident off as the petulant rantings of a frustrated kid? Do we assume that this outburst is a gimmick, another anger-as-motivation tool as Cobb himself previously articulated? Or, do we take those words to heart?

As shown by the immediate removal, Cobb (or someone close to the program) knows that such outbursts are bad for the team.  It’s hard to sell out the stadium when the star player attacks the fans’ loyalty. Our immediate gut reaction, as armchair quarterbacks, is to advise Joker to get that kid “off the Twitter” at once.  Otherwise, he’ll just end up as an OchoCinco-level embarrassment, airing all the team’s dirty laundry in public.  Besides, we all bleed blue and we all showed up at the game just as soon as we sobered up from Keeneland, right?

Kentucky football is on the precipice of big things. The Paw Paw era brought expectations of winning seasons and Bowl appearances. The Joker era has, to date, brought an exciting near-upset of perennial powerhouse Auburn and broken the decade-long slump against Carolina, while showing all indications of ending Tennessee’s decades-old winning streak. As our football team redefines its role within the conference, perhaps we should also look at redefining our own role as fans. We all love our Wildcats and want them to win. We’d love to rush the field every single week. Yet, sometimes, it’s easy to fall back on the negativity of past seasons. It’s even easier to lose our momentum as fans as we chug along from one big sports event to the next, too exhausted from the sunny racetrack or the late-night basketball teaser to fully support our team.  And when you factor in this team’s tendency to break late and mount spectacular second-half comebacks, the crowd sluggishness becomes almost an expectation.
The Big Blue Nation has, in recent years, increased support for the football team tenfold. From the tailgating twentysomethings to the skybox crowd, we now come out in droves. But attendance isn’t enough, nor is love of the team. As our football team continues to make a name for itself within the Greatest Conference in College Sports, we need to remember that winning is a two-way street, influenced by both active fan support and player performance. If we want our football team to bring its “A-game,” then we as fans need to bring the same A-game to Commonwealth Stadium that we bring to Rupp.
And, for now, maybe we do need to keep our players off the Twitter.

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Randall Cobb’s Sunday Twitter: Displeased with Big Blue Nation 1 pm. 10.17.10

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