It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that Bob Knight would go off and say something stupid and inflammatory. It’s been repeated over and over since his most recent comments surfaced, yesterday: That’s just who Bob Knight is. He doesn’t pull any punches, he calls it like he sees it, he’s not going to let anyone censor him, blah blah blah. Bob Knight’s idiocy isn’t the problem at hand and it never was. He’s a bitter old man without a filter and that’s not up for debate. He could have coached his last years at Texas Tech, retired as the all-time wins leader in Division I college basketball and rode off into the sunset until he had to come back and say a few words when Coach K passed his wins mark. That’s not what happened though.
Instead, upon his retirement, ESPN offered him a job as a college basketball analyst. Every contentious thing he has said since 2008 is the fault of ESPN, and they have yet to embrace that responsibility. By hiring him as an expert on college basketball, ESPN validated his opinions, all of his opinions. Knight was no longer a coach, but a newly minted member of the sports media. However, he seems to exist outside of the realm of ESPN reprimand. He talks with obvious preference for certain coaches and teams and refuses to hold himself to the same level of integrity and professionalism that his peers, like Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale, do. Knight even makes Digger Phelps look like a reasonable and unbiased analyst.
At this point, a simple slap on the wrist by ESPN won’t suffice. The story is now national news and something big has to be done to show Bob Knight that being ‘blatantly erroneous’ isn’t appropriate when you speak with the authority of a news group that calls itself ‘The Worldwide Leader in Sports’. There are certainly levels of journalistic integrity that must always be upheld and getting the facts right is about as crucially basic as it can get. We know that and ESPN certainly knows that.
There needs to be a punishment to go along with the lackluster statement of innocence that they tried to pass off as an apology from Knight. He never acknowledged what he said was incorrect, he only noted that he shouldn’t have said it about Kentucky. That’s not good enough for me and it shouldn’t be good enough for ESPN.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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