Friday, August 28, 2009


Never go to war with people who buy ink by the barrel. Particularly in defense of your own extra-marital affair. Well, that last part may not be part of the cardinal rule, but you get the picture when it comes to Louisville basketball coach and God-like figure Rick Pitino. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Pitino is like royalty in Kentucky, where college hoops is a religion. At least until recently, when a nasty scandal broke after Louisville police released audio and video recordings of phone calls and an interview with Karen Sypher, a woman the long-married and deeply religious Pitino has admitted to police that he had sex with six years ago. She claims in the police interview that Pitino sexually assaulted her. Not only didn’t prosecutors charge Pitino, Sypher is now accused of trying to extort millions of dollars from the famed coach. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying to the FBI. We’re well beyond the first blush of this scandal. And yet Pitino decided he just had to hold a press conference this week in which he declared the whole thing has been “pure hell” for his family. “Everything that's been printed, everything that’s been reported, everything that’s been breaking in the news is 100 per cent a lie, a lie,” Pitino said. Sounding a bit like former Senator Gary Hart challenging media to follow him (so they did) to dig up proof of his alleged affairs (which they also did), Pitino defied his lawyer’s advice to keep quiet and instead attacked the media and challenged them to prove allegations against him. That’s dangerous ground. He should have taken his lawyer’s advice. You don’t win that kind of war coach Pitino, not against the media and not in the court of public opinion. This is no time for a full-court press.

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