on Sports
Calipar Caper


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Note: A couple of times a year we turn our column over to our detective friend, Nelson, whenever we find a sports crime story. Basketball season hasn’t quite started, yet an interesting tidbit comes from the Memphis Police Burglary unit involving players on the Memphis Tigers basketball team. Take it, Nelson.

    Something’s fishy going on. I was nibbling on my calamari when I noticed an item involving John Calipari, Memphis Coach. Coincidence or providence -- You be the judge.  Four of his ballers report a burglary from their campus pad, $66,720 of stuff. They’re in an exhibition game exhibiting themselves in this pyramid-looking gym while a perp is boosting their stuff, helping himself to eight mink coats, diamond earrings, custom-made shirts and other necessities any self-respecting college jock can’t do without. 

    What peaked my interest was an earlier story about a Janice Dowell, owner of Motes Furs in Memphis, who reported eighteen full-length coats stolen from her store last month. I’m thinking this could be related and what are four ball players doing with two fur coats each? I know it gets really cold in Memphis because Elvis wanted to grow hair and be a teddy bear but it seemed to me this story was developing into t-r-o-u-b-l-e for Mr. Calipari. I thought maybe it’s time for me to mosey to Memphis and be a hound dog. I mean, it’s now or never. It doesn’t look right for the big boss man. Scholarship Basketball players don’t work. They shouldn’t have the jack to be hit for a big boost.

    I pull into Memphis and see where John C. is explaining how college students can afford
$4000 in custom made shirts by using their meal money, Pell grants and internships. I know John loves his guys but he’s heading to Heartbreak Hotel if he keeps this up. You don’t have to be a hard hearted woman to know that’s a bit of business.  I bet when the Pell grant people read this they’re going to pull out – return to sender, address unknown – that’s the last thing they need. They’re going to be all shook up, doesn’t matter if the recipients are in the ghetto or the burbs, the Pell’s not there to buy fur coats.

    Now Calipari’s doing a second news conference, asking the local media to love me tender and forget most of the stuff from the first conference. He’s being syrupy. He’s saying I want you, I need you, I love you. Haven’t they heard this line before? And worse yet, now he’s claiming there weren’t $40,000 worth of mink coats, as first reported, just fake furs worth maybe $3600.  Oh, no. The reporters are falling for it. They’re wispy eyed, looking at him like he’s the you in the wonder of you. This is too much. Either the ballplayers lied, got a few items stolen and were trying an insurance scam or they really had valuables and are now lying so they don’t have to explain how they got these valuables. Either way, Calipari’s attempt at a smooth over will be a case of burning love. The Memphis Police aren’t buying it. Calipari is now giving them all a lesson in elementary arithmetic, stating that when his player, Clyde Wade, called in the theft and said eight coats were stolen, and by the way they were a girl friend’s coats and not his, and was asked their value, he said $5000. The policeman incorrectly multiplied that by eight, whereas he had meant $5000 for the total eight. Calipari goes to the blackboard and does his math thing.

    This is when the police point out to John that eighteen mink coats were stolen from the Motes Fur store a few weeks earlier. This is what I came for, to see the Calipari hang dog face. It’s the droop that out droops Larry Brown. He protests something about the coats not being fur.
“They were suede, not minks. Blue suede coats, a few shoes. Blue suede and shoes, I tell ya.”
Calipari Caper

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