Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Rick Pitino...

Oh boy...

This is going to be a long one…

Rick Pitino admitted to police that he had consensual sex with a woman in 2003 and then gave her $3,000 after she told him she was pregnant and planned to have an abortion.

Let’s get something straight right away…this IS a big deal. Rick Pitino gets paid a lot of money to do his job and whether it’s fair or not, his job goes beyond the court. He is the face of the university. He represents the players he coaches, the school he coaches for and the city he coaches in. He is and should be held to a higher standard then other University employees.

Now, let’s get something else out of the way….this shouldn’t be totally surprising. I have always supported Rick Pitino, but I’ve always known he’s probably not that great of a guy. You know what? Most college coaches aren’t that great. College coaching at its highest level takes a certain person…it takes a cocky person…it takes a person with an ego the size of Montana. To think that Coach Pitino is the first and only coach in college sports to have an affair is simply naive. It’s also naïve to think he’s the only coach in the Big East to have an affair. It’s not just coaching (or sports) either. Musicians, politicians, big business men… stuff like this happens, often. This doesn’t make it ok… but it’s the world we live in.

Where this situation gets sticky is the second part…abortion. I’m not going to sit here and give you my views on abortion, but here’s what I will say it’s legal in the United States. Pitino met with this woman because she said she was pregnant. He said he didn’t know what to do, but she said she was going to have an abortion. It was her decision. However, she didn’t have health insurance, so Pitino, without a paternity test, gave her money to have the operation. This clearly is not a good move. It reflects poorly on Pitino’s character and his judgement, the whole thing does. But, the woman decided what she wanted to do with her pregnancy and the law gives her that choice. Pitino didn’t question, he just gave her money to go through with her plan. It’s not smart, but it’s not a crime. I’m also willing to bet that a situation like this isn’t all that uncommon. Right or wrong is not the point, as I said before…it’s the world we live in.

Now there are people who think Pitino should be fired or resign immediately…and that very well could be the case. However, I am not in that camp. Before you go accusing me of only caring about winning, let me explain. Over the past 8 years I have loved watching Rick Pitino and the way he has led my University of Louisville Cardinals. The players have been respectful on the court and performed to the best of their ability. In addition, many of the players who have come through have praised Pitino for his coaching and the fact that he has been such a strong, positive figure in their lives, helping them not only become better basketball players but also better young me. When looking at the performance on the court, Pitino has excelled and that’s what he is paid to do.

Should Pitino have done what he did? No way. But should he be fired or asked to leave? Absolutely not. Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant were in equally messy situations…both dealt with serious ramifications because of their poor choices, both dealt with the situations in the best way possible, both bounced back and have made their lives better by learning from their mistakes.

Rick Pitino has given lots of time and hard work to the University of Louisville over the past 8 years and many Cardinal fans, including myself have benefited from his hard work. While his actions are in no way in order with my personal beliefs, I will stand by Rick Pitino. He hasn’t committed a crime, he has been honest and he admitted to his mistake…in my opinion he has earned a second chance.

I’m a fan of the University of Louisville but I’m also a human being. Rick Pitino has made a huge mistake. He’s embarrassed himself, his family and the University of Louisville. But to not give the man a second chance would be extremely close-minded and downright disappointing.

I mean, he could have just paid her. Rick Pitino is worth millions of dollars and this woman tried to extort money from him, which is illegal. Rick Pitino knew this would come out, he could have given the woman 10,000,000 dollars and it would have been gone forever, but he fought it. He made a mistake, but she committed a crime. He chose to admit to this stuff and be honest about it.

We’re all human…even celebrities (See Jim James blog from Monday) and we all make mistakes because we’re human. It happens and it’s the world we live in.

I’ve been a University of Louisville fan for 23 years. I was one before Pitino and I’ll be one after Pitino. He has made a terrible, horrible mistake...there's no way to sugar coat it. He has brought shame on himself, his family and the University of Louisville. His legacy and image will have a mark on them that may stay forever. However, I’m hoping we can all realize a mistake when we see one and give another human being a second chance. While at UofL Rick Pitino has run a respectable, clean, competitive program for 8 years. I vote to stick by his side as he tries to right his wrong and earn the forgiveness of UofL fans and supporters everywhere.

Go Cards!

Song of the Day: The Shins - Mine's Not A High Horse

GRE Word: Precipitate (adj) - Acting with excessive haste or impulse

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