Really, Rick Pitino? Really?
Unfortunately for Pitino, so much of what he says can be deconstructed. It's strange. I thought Pitino was rather accountable after the Karen Sypher controversy erupted a few years ago, showing up to Big East Media Day and answering questions.
This year, he blew off ACC Media Day, and subsequently the postgame press conference after the loss to Kentucky, because it was an "emotional" game for him.
So much here to go over. Let's go:
QUESTION: DID YOU FLIP OFF THE UK FANS?
OK, let's start here, with how the question was actually phrased.
"Coach, I apologize in advance, I was told to ask this but -- very important question -- did you flip off UK fans?"
You're apologizing before you ask the question? You're blaming your editors for asking the question? You're sarcastically portraying as a "very important question"?
Imagine if this guy had to interview, say, Peyton Manning. "Peyton, I'm sorry I even have to ask this, but ... well, my editors want me to ask you if you ever took HGH. Y'know what, don't even answer it. We all know it's not true. Stupid question to begin with. Sorry."
I'll cut the guy some slack if he worked for the college paper. Otherwise, totally unprofessional.
We move on:
PITINO: I did not. It wasn’t fans, per se, I was in the tunnel, and it’s really not important.
So you didn't flip them off? Or you didn't flip off fans, just, I don't know ... security guards? Cheerleaders? And because you were in the tunnel, it made it OK -- even though you did not do it? I'm confused.
What bothers me about you (turning to Rick Bozich) is you say, I know everybody’s body fat, you must know about this (events in the dorm). That pisses me off, beyond your wildest dreams.
I don't know, Rick. It's kind of a fair point, if you ask me. You're telling me not the slightest whisper of anything even a little bit untoward ever made it to your office. I find that VERY hard to believe.
PITINO: Because that took place in Billy Minardi Hall, and we didn’t get one recruit.
I don't know what this means. Were the strippers not good enough to lure any of the potential recruits to Louisville? I'm honestly confused.
PITINO: The NCAA is upset at me because if I say, I can’t find one person, not one, that knew anything about it, the NCAA says you’re intimidating the witnesses. That wasn’t my intent to say that. So that’s why I didn’t go to media day. They’re telling me I’m intimidating. Well, soon as this happened, I went ballistic on everybody. Wait a second. You didn’t know one, single thing? The security person. You never saw a thing in four years and you worked for four years around the clock? No. Well the answer’s obvious isn’t it, Rick, isn’t the answer obvious? The reason that nobody saw anything, they knew that all hell would break loose if I found out that one, single thing was going on. That would be the obvious thing to me.
Again, I'm not saying Pitino knew the full extent of what allegedly was going on. But I can't believe he didn't know at least something.
PITINO: So I don’t want to put myself out on a press conference like that, not for you, not for you, you’ve already asked your questions. But for other people who are going ask that question that you just had to ask — you wouldn’t ask it, but you’re working for people.
Lots of journalists actually would ask the question, and not blame their bosses for asking it.
PITINO: None of it makes sense to me. So I believe, and I have to thank Eric publicly because he’s the only guy that said, I’m going to show you that this, I know one thing, that guy’s the cheapest guy I’ve ever been around in my life, I know those numbers, and Eric did it, said follow the money trail, and showed it wasn’t that money. He proved it. He proved the inaccuracies in the book.
This sounds an awful lot like, "See, one part of the woman's story doesn't quite add up, so it all must be nonsense."
PITINO: When we went up there, and I’ll leave it with this, and 2016 is hopefully going to be a better year, when Kenny Klein and John Carns went up there (to Indianapolis) to this book company to find out what’s going on, what can we investigate, what can we do? They made a statement that was interesting. I don’t know if it was a racist statement, I don’t know. Correct me if I’m wrong on this. The statement was made, ‘You mean to tell me this person kept a four-year log of everything that was going on? Wrote a journal about this?’ (Answer) No, no, we wrote it. She can’t complete two sentences the right way to write a book.
Some dangerous territory he's skating here, but the bottom line: Yes, people get help writing books. Jose Canseco "wrote" a best-seller. The list goes on and on. It happens.
PITINO: And then 11 people are suing her saying it’s not the truth. Is it 11? Whatever the number is out there. So I don’t know what’s going on with all this, but I know that everybody gave a forum to this person who may have committed criminal acts. But nobody went after her.
I could be wrong, but haven't several recruits corroborated the woman's story to the NCAA that these things actually did occur?
Actually, there's so much money and income at risk that coaches might be far more prone to bury bad things and try to make sure they never go public. Or at least turn a blind eye to it. Like Joe Paterno (more on him soon). Unfortunately, many fantastically-wealthy, insanely-driven head coaches aren't going to go to the NCAA or the media and offer up the fact that their recruits are getting lap dances and sex from hookers.
PITINO: I think this university has as much integrity — I said it on of my blogs. The man I've met ... the one man in my life ... I'll say two and some people question John Wooden with Sam Gilbert. But the one person I would never question who I have ever encountered in my life as a young basketball coach is Joe Paterno
He would be the one guy that I would hold above reproach at everything. What did they do? They took a statue away. They probably killed him.
Yeah, Joe Paterno is about the last name you want to bring up right now.
PITINO: But you know sometimes he didn't know about it. And it was scurrilous what that assistant coach was doing.
Jerry Sandusky having sex with young boys for years was just "scurrilous"? Depraved, sick and one of the worst crimes one can commit, yes. But the best word he can come up with is "scurrilous?"
PITINO: And I believe in the way we do things, and I believe we have been wronged. We have been wronged. Now, did one person do some scurrilous things? I believe so. From what I know now, I believe so.
There's that word again. This time, it's in fair context. But if paying for strippers is "scurrilous," raping young boys is a bit more severe.
Growing up in Rhode Island, that 1987 PC Final Four team is one of the most enjoyable teams I ever watched. It was a masterful job by Pitino -- perhaps his best. He remains, in my opinion, perhaps the greatest basketball mind in the sport.
But I've lost some respect for him over the past few months. And this rambling, sometimes Calhoun-like (not in the blatant lies, just in the incomplete thoughts and subject-jumping) discourse doesn't help him, in my opinion.
And yes, that's my opinion. And I don't apologize in advance, and no one told me to write this.