INDIANAPOLIS -- As Final Four controversies go, this is nothing. But it was enough to pull newspapers back from circulation, raise questions at today's open practice news conferences and draw the ire of one Mr. Mike Krzyzewski.
Friday, the Indianapolis Star's sports section ran a story titled "Despising Duke," which was accompanied by a rather poorly executed illustration. It featured a photo of Coach K (see the image here) with a ink-drawn mustache, dark teeth, and, perhaps most offensive, a scrawled-on target on Coach K's forehead. The Star later withdrew the paper -- about 20,000 copies made it into circulation, according to senior editor/sports Jim Lefko -- and apologized.
When asked about it on Friday, Coach K was, as the AP report rather comically put it, "not amused":
"First thing, I thought, you know, 'That can't be,'" Krzyzewski said. "How could a newspaper do that? I thought somebody doodled. Actually, I thought I looked better. But it was kind of juvenile. Not kind of, it was just juvenile. You know, my seven grandkids didn't enjoy looking at it. That's not Papi.
"You know, it is what it is," Coach K said. "It's very juvenile. We have great kids who go to school, they graduate. If we're going to be despised or hated by anybody because we go to school and we want to win, you know what, that's your problem. If you don't like it, keep drawing pictures. Try to do them a little bit better than that, though."
Like I said: not amused.
What's too bad for the Indy Star is that from a purely professional standpoint, the design element was actually pretty clever! It's the sort of thing a really good, experimental student newspaper would come up with. Had the Star stopped with a few doodles on K's face and a few fake words in the margins -- eschewing the devil horns and the target on K's forehead -- this probably wouldn't have been as big of a deal, and the complaints and angst from Duke loyalists and subscription holders probably wouldn't have materialized.