Cartoonist Joel Pett Involved in a Basketball Brouhaha
Joel Pett, editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, has landed himself and his paper in hot water over one of his recent cartoons. Entitled "Coach Cal's Trophy Case," Mr. Pett's cartoon displays the meager trophy case of University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. Sure there's a trophy for the March 2012 NCAA championship, but flanking it are two vacated spaces (for vacated Final Four appearances at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis) and a deflated basketball representing the coach's desire to play basketball arch-rival Indiana University on a neutral court. Kentucky basketball fans, angry over the cartoon lampooning their coach, have threatened to cancel their subscriptions and otherwise boycott the Herald-Leader.
Joel Pett walks a fine line as an editorial cartoonist. Born in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University and its storied basketball program, Mr. Pett attended IU and cartooned for his hometown Herald-Telephone before landing a job across the river at the Lexington Herald-Leader. He has tackled difficult and controversial issues before and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Many of those issues may pale in comparison to the subject of Kentucky basketball, though. In any case, you can read more about the controversy and see the offending cartoon in the following articles:
"Cartoonist Courts Ire of Kentucky Fans" by Lynn Zinser at The Quad: The New York Times College Sports Blog, May 8, 2012
"Editorial Cartoon Blasting John Calipari Angers Kentucky Fans" by Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo Sports, May 8, 2012
Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley