Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Of course it has been hell on your family, you moron


Louisville Mens Basketball Coach Rick Pitino is lucky to have a job, period. Were it not for the low standards and overwhelming emphasis on winning no matter what, no decent school would have kept him on for the upcoming season. That is not to say that he couldn't have signed on somewhere else in a few years and gone back to coaching. No, it's the lack of accountability for what he did that stings here. He's paid no price, other than a personal one, and, of course, he's complaining about that in the media:
Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday a sex scandal involving a woman accused of trying to extort him has been "pure hell" for his family, and that the airing of her claims made him angry enough to speak out against his lawyer's advice.

Pitino spoke at a hastily called news conference hours after Louisville police released audio and video recordings of phone calls and an interview with Karen Cunagin Sypher, the woman at the heart of the scandal. Pitino has told police that he had sex with her six years ago.

Sypher claims in the interview that Pitino sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors did not pursue charges against Pitino, and Sypher is now accused of trying to extort millions from the coach. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying to the FBI.

The coach lashed out at the media for again reporting on her accusations by airing clips of the interviews Wednesday.

"Everything that's been printed, everything that's been reported, everything that's been breaking in the news on the day Ted Kennedy died is 100 percent a lie, a lie," Pitino said. "All of this has been a lie, a total fabrication of the truth."

The married father of five, who's also a devout Roman Catholic, said the scandal has taken a heavy toll on his wife and family.

"It has been pure hell for her and my family," he said.

"I admitted to you I made a mistake, and believe me I will suffer for that mistake," he added.

If you're contrite and attempting to rehabilitate your image, you do not lash out at the media. You roll over and take it and try to behave in a humble way.

Not so with Pitino. This is becoming a farce. He isn't sorry about anything, other than the fact that his image has taken a hit. He's not the choirboy. He's like any other middle-aged man in America who has sex in public with someone who is not his wife and then has to pay hush money to in order to keep from being held accountable for his lapse in judgement.

It's also very, very clear that when you're the head coach, you get preferential treatment:
In an interview with police that was not taped but was summarized in a police report, Pitino said the encounter with Sypher was consensual. Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said Pitino's interview wasn't taped because his attorney accompanied him to the interview.

Why not? Is it because he was simply being asked questions and wasn't suspected of anything? Because I will bet you anything you want to bet that it was favoritism and it was designed to try to keep him from being held accountable or liable in a civil suit of some kind. When the police start treating lawyered up VIPs different from the rest of us, it means something is afoot. Good for Pitino--he was able to bring his lawyer to an untaped, friendly conversation with the police when he wasn't suspected of anything. People of means, they get all the special breaks. It certainly could be an innocent questioning procedure, now could it?

If I'm having any kind of conversation with the police and with my lawyer present, I think I'd want to have it taped, provided I was innocent. I think I would want to have that record of the proceedings in order to keep from being accused of something I didn't do, especially if I was innocent. Now, given all that, how innocent is Pitino, when you get right down to it? Why bring a lawyer and then why not tape it? Weird.

Is it asking too much for the NCAA to do something here? Perhaps gagging Pitino would violate his right to free speech. It's not like someone should keep him from speaking out--it's just that, every time he does, he reminds people of why Louisville should have fired him in the first place. He does not get that his public stance right now should be one of relief and humility, not defiance and anger at the media for simply doing their job.

If the NCAA can go after assistant coaches for minor recruiting violations as if the Republic is about to fall, perhaps they can look into how a big-time coach runs his affairs while professing to be a role model and an educator and a shaper of young men's character.

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