OTC: Yael Abouhalkah Goes Whitlock On KU’s Bill Self / And KU Fans Respond

“Why did Self act like a $5 million-a-year spoilsport after the Jayhawks clinched sole possession of their 10th straight Big 12 title Saturday night? To hear Self’s excuse, his team (and my alma mater) didn’t deserve to celebrate after losing to Oklahoma State, 72-65, in a hard-fought game on the road. … But those student athletes have worked hundreds of hours this year for Self and their fans, getting the team into the position to win the title. Yet when the players got to the mountaintop, Self proclaimed they couldn’t even enjoy the view for a little bit. … It’s the least Self could have done for his players, the ones he supposedly cares so much about.”
Yael Abouhalkah, editorial columnist for The Kansas City Star
GH: A number of readers, friends, enemies and casual acquaintances have asked me over the weekend, “So why is your buddy Yael writing about sports?” Now, please know that every one of these folks is a Kansas basketball fan who is not real happy that the KC Star editorial columnist suddenly decided to turn his keyboard and fire away at the man who owns Lawrence. I do think Yael is off his rocker on this one (and the little bearded dude is old enough to own one). But shaking the monstrous tree that is Kansas Basketball can be fruitful if you are looking for buzz. Read on.

“Actually, there were a few (who agreed with me). There were 300-some-odd comments just on the post and then I’ve been getting emails and all that stuff. The ones that start out, ‘You jackass…’ I’m probably not going to read. … Yes, most of it has been negative. I must admit that.”
Yael Abouhalkah, when asked by Lake if there was anyone out there that agreed with his column, 610 AM
GH: How often does a column posted about Mayor Sly’s streetcar boondoggle or Kansas City’s murky murder rate numbers generate 300 online comments? Jason Whitlock has made a comfortable career in this media business by often making himself the villain. I know both Whitlock and Abouhalkah and I believe both write from their heart. But both are also savvy, thick-skinned writers who know a bad column can often times be very, very good.

“Spare me the winning-is-everything attitude that this is what coaches do, teaching players lessons after they play poorly. Well, I didn’t see Self volunteering to give any of his $5 million salary back after what he thought was a poor performance Saturday night. Remember, this is a coach who makes a great deal of money off the backs of these student athletes. He gets to call all the shots. He decides when they celebrate, when they don’t. … Self blew his chance Saturday to be a human being, not an ultra-control freak.”
Yael Abouhalkah, Kansascity.com
GH: I heard and read Yael’s column being discussed on sports radio, on Twitter, on political talk radio, and by just about everyone who saw or contacted me who knows Yael is a friend of mine. “So what do you think about what your buddy wrote about Bill Self?” My response was something like, “I have no idea what the hell he is thinking. I can’t name one team I ever played on or was following that would want to break out hats, shirts and a dance routine after backing into a conference title.” Teams just don’t celebrate immediately after losing a game – especially a game where they were up 10 in the second half.

“It is your opinion Yael but I completely disagree with you.”
Jay Binkley, in a live interview with Abouhalkah on Monday , 610 AM
GH: Props to Binkley for telling Abouhalkah he disagreed with him while he had him live on the air. Too often the radio host plays nice with a guest they disagree with and then they hammer him/her once they hang up the phone. Kevin Kietzman’s name comes to mind.

“Boy, KU basketball fans can be kind of negative. I don’t know if you guys have noticed that over your years of radio here. But they do expect perfection. They’re not just upset with me but everything these 18- and 19-year-old players who can’t do things perfectly.”
Yael Abouhalkah, 610 AM
GH: Abouhalkah wasn’t backing down Monday, even after he had been ripped from just about every corner of the media and the state of Kansas. A couple of them now probably can even pronounce his name. Speaking of pronouncing names, my buddy John Snyder turned me on to Comedy Central’s Key & Peele this week and you need to watch this clip with your speakers turned up. I spent an hour yesterday watching everything I could find on these two comic geniuses.

“I think one thing Abouhalkah missed out on, maybe he doesn’t follow it close enough – I don’t know – he’s a really smart guy. But he said it’s not much fun to play at Kansas because of the iron first that Bill Self rules over this thing with his $5 million salary he’s making off the backs of these kids – come on! That’s just class-envy warfare crap. It was nonsense.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Class-envy warfare? I guess we could all same the same about sports talk radio jocks who rip professional athletes and coaches.

“’How dare Oklahoma State storm!’ KU is the best program in the league, 2 top draft picks, OSU alum coaching em- HUGE season saving win.”
Doug Gottlieb, @GottliebShow, following OSU’s win over KU in Stillwater, Twitter
GH: Kansas gets court stormed more than just about any program going – because they are one of the few blueblood college basketball programs in the country. So why do KU fans get so bent about their opponents showing this unique display of respect? If you don’t want to get court stormed, win the damn game.

“25 turnovers from KU…not sure that is fixable at highest level, plus Embiid’s back is an issue heading forward.”
Doug Gottlieb, @GottliebShow, following OSU’s win over KU in Stillwater, Twitter
GH: Talk about a guy who likes to stir the turd – Gottlieb is a master at tweaking Kansas.

“I think there’s some underlining something between Self and (Travis) Ford.”
Todd Leabo, on a rift he believes between the KU and Oklahoma State coach, 810 AM
GH: I don’t think these two particularly like each other but I don’t think they should. They are trying to win the same conference every year. I like it when coaches are openly unhappy with the other coach. Norm Stewart and Billy Tubbs were great examples of this. They acted like they hated everybody!

“How much applause will just be polite for seniors on Saturday in Manhattan? Weird feel with this class.”
Curtis Kitchen, @curtiskitchen, Twitter
GH: Bramlage should explode when those three seniors walk the court. With the turmoil and drama they’ve been through there under Frank Martin, those fans should send them off like they are as much a part of the Purple family as any Cat who ever prowled that campus.

“From our crew on site at Oklahoma State: Sophomore Marcus Smart will walk with Markel Brown and Mason Cox on senior night tonight vs KState.”
Andy Katz, @ESPNAndyKatz, Twitter
GH: It is called Senior Night, right? Maybe in Stillwater they are changing it to Been-Here Night?

[email protected] and Twitter @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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50 Responses to OTC: Yael Abouhalkah Goes Whitlock On KU’s Bill Self / And KU Fans Respond

  1. Rico_suave says:

    I miss ol Whitlock .. at the Star , he was great, — even at Fox he was good for a column every few days..

    now he’s buried on the ESPN site.. with irregular.. and boring.. columns

  2. Java Man says:

    Agreed on Key & Peele. Skits with a high batting average.

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