This is not the time for Rick Pitino to take the moral high ground
So there was Louisville basketball coach
He lectured the media for reporting stories about his extramarital affair when
He said, all this has been a lie, a total fabrication of the truth except what I told you. Everything else is a lie.
I was ready to reach into my TV and grab Pitino's shirt, but unfortunately we won't have that kind of technology for at least six more months.
I wanted to scream:
It's true. Pitino is not under indictment here;
I'm not saying which one is telling the truth. I'm saying her story is very, very hard for people to believe.
Pitino may have violated a moral code, not to mention the city health code, and if he did indeed finance an abortion, he may have violated his own religious code. Still, he draws his paychecks from the University of Louisville, not the Catholic Church. Cheating on your wife is not a fireable offense. Neither is financing a legal abortion. If a coach's extramarital sex were an NCAA violation, trust me, a lot of Final Four appearances would be vacated.
It is tempting to pin this mess on Pitino, to say he created it on that night in 2003 when he went to an upscale restaurant in Louisville and ordered way, way off the menu. But all we really know for sure is that he cheated on his wife, and Americans can deal with a guy cheating on his wife. (Lord knows we've had enough practice.)
Pitino sees himself as the victim in this case, and he might be right. But he also thinks that gives him the moral high ground, and that high ground is shakier than he realizes. He apparently had one of his lackeys watch the door while he was enjoying his nightcap. Pitino's equipment manager
He says things like, "This is a day I went home to comfort my wife, who as you would imagine in the last seven months, has had a difficult time as her husband was blackmailed during the tournament and extorted for millions of dollars."
I can't speak for
Pitino has always wanted the best of everything at all his jobs: the highest salary, the best perks, the most beautiful facilities. He can't turn around and ask everybody to have some perspective. It just won't work.
Pitino's problem right now is that he is a lifelong salesman. He has a desperate need to control the story, to create an image, to convince everybody in the room that he is somebody they should follow.
But this room is too big. He can't control it, no matter how much he asks us to talk about Ted Kennedy's death.
(By the way, Pitino has now held two news conferences this month to discuss the extortion case. In the first one, he compared dealing with this to coping with 9/11. In this one, he invoked Ted Kennedy's death twice. I can't wait until the case goes to trial and Pitino compares it to the Normandy invasion.)
Does he really think the media is only going to report his side of the case? Everything in this case is going to be made public. Everything.
"I'm a very proud New Yorker and all my close family and friends had to read in the tabloids all these vicious things that were said," Pitino said.
I assume this was in response to the
There was a time, years ago, when Pitino could say anything and make most people believe it. He has that kind of charisma. He somehow parlayed his ability to coach basketball into
"What you should be doing," he wrote in
I don't know if he still believes that -- after all, he wrote it before Ted Kennedy died -- but it was one of several bad habits that Pitino discussed in his book. If Pitino is just a philanderer and the victim of extortion, nothing more, then I feel for him. Really, I do. But this is not the time for Rick Pitino to lecture us on bad habits or anything else.