Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection this fall, and yesterday he released a campaign ad to much fanfare. It featured some of the things that make Kentucky great, including what were supposed to be highlights of the state's two basketball teams celebrating championships. It didn't work out that way.
At about 1:09 of the video below, there's a shot of Louisville's 2013 NCAA title, and then...well, they're wearing blue and white at least. As first noticed by LEO Weekly's Joe Sonka, instead of the Kentucky Wildcats and their 2012 championship, it's actually a clip of Duke winning it all in 2010.
You don't mess with Kentuckians and their basketball. Residents quickly seized on the gaffe, and McConnell's presumptive opponent even turned it into a campaign promise:
(Because Kentuckians are insane, they then fell upon Grimes for not picking either in-state team to win her bracket.)
McConnell's spokeswoman sprung into damage control. "Obviously we were horrified by the error and quickly changed it," she said.
Yeah, about that. In place of the Duke footage, the McConnell campaign hastily spliced in a shot of Julius Randle from this year's team. Here's a screengrab, via Kentucky Sports Radio.
That's a problem, because NCAA rules concerning the use of images of active athletes are particularly stringent. So Kentucky sent a cease and desist letter to McConnell, demanding that Randle be taken out of the video.
"The University of Kentucky consulted with the NCAA earlier today regarding footage of Julius Randle in a Mitch McConnell advertisement. Although the use of the student-athlete's image in the advertisement is not permissible, because it was done without the knowledge or permission of the university or the student-athlete, it is not an NCAA violation. The University of Kentucky has sent a cease and desist letter and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure improper usage of a student-athlete's name, image or likeness is prevented."
Rather than go through all of this again, McConnell's campaign just pulled the ad altogether. The campaign put out a statement last night. "It was our intention to honor our great Kentucky basketball traditions," it concluded. "Our campaign apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused."