With our constantly changing news cycle, Rick is out and Tiger is in, so the story of Sypher-gate has lost some of its national flair. But because of Karen’s effect on our server, we missed Rick’s emotional press conference last night. I watched it late last night and generally felt that it rang hollow. I am sure Rick is sorry that he got caught and that he embarrassed his family and university with the news, but that doesnt cut it for me. Just being sorry you got caught is different than being genuinely sorry, and I didnt see that genuine regret yesterday. By invoking 9/11 and making clear to repeat over and over that the indiscretion took place six years ago, Pitino was making excuses, not accepting responsibility. He also found a way to bring up that the Cards went to an Elite Eight last year, as if that had anything to do with his night at Porcini.
In the end, Pitino acted like a child and was caught. Leave aside the fact that he cheated on his spouse, an indiscretion that for purposes of this post, we will assume was the first time. I take a general position that those actions are between he and his wife. Even besides that, Pitino showed judgment that goes way beyond poor. He had sex with a woman in a public restaurant in the middle of Louisville, an act that is absurd for a man of his age, regardless of whether it was after he was to “lock up.” Had Billy Clyde been caught with such an act, he would have been fired…Pitino will escape it. His attorney Steve Pence yesterday flirted with the bounds of reasonable argument yesterday when he claimed that the $3,000 given to Sypher was not “explicitly for an abortion,” as if a man writes a check for health insurance to a woman who he doesnt know that is claiming a pregnancy. For a man who supposedly was “taking responsibility” for his actions, such an argument should be beneath him.
The bottom line is that Rick Pitino screwed up. He isnt the first and he wont be the last. Let he who does not live in a glass house cast a stone. But you learn more about the character of a person at their lowest hour than at their highest. Rick had a chance yesterday to throw himself on the mercy of the state, admit to his lowest moment and begin the process of moving on. Instead, he once again showcased his tremendous ego and his desire to blame everyone, ranging from Sypher to the media to the terrorists for his own mistake. Even in the midst of a day of truth, a lie had to be told…and even when he attempted to come totally clean, dirt seeped in.
I have always liked the way Rick Pitino coached on the court and there are things about the man that are very admirable. Having said that, he has lost the public trust and going forward, all the things that make up Rick Pitino are in question. How do we listen to him talk about disciplining a player, successful business choices, personal life lessons or any other quintissential Pitino life lesson again? Rick Pitino was at one time bigger than life. If we hadnt known before, we knew yesterday that he isnt that way now. He is simply a man who let the smallest of desires run his life, and was unable to completely accept the consequences or responsibility when his actions finally caught up to him. Success is indeed a choice.