"Times aren't easy, but if I can get through 9/11, I can get through anything in my life. And I got through 9/11 and there's nothing ever going to come close to that. We'll get through this in a positive way and move on."
Note to self: If ever I am drinking late some night in a bar-What the hell. It could happen.-and a woman with whom I had chatted earlier in the evening returns looking for me and starts "hitting on me" I should immediately call for a cab. If however, we start getting busy in the floor of the restaurant, and should she inform me in the process of said getting busy that she is not compliant with a birth control regimen and that this will require me to "pull out" then I hope that I have the sense to quickly jump up and run out the door.
But if I don't have sense enough to get myself into the night air at that point, at least I would hope that I didn't knock her up. Or that if I did, it would not be in a Roman Catholic town like Louisville and that my babymamma wouldn't turn out to be crazy, an extortionist or both.
But as Louisville Head Basketball Coach Rick Pitino now well knows, once you set things in motion down certain paths, it is sometimes hard to make these things go away quietly.
I figured that Pitino had gotten hooked up with the wrong person back last Spring when it was reported that he had gone to the FBI to complain that he was the subject of a blackmail attempt. And in due course, one Karen Sypher, the estranged wife of Tim Sypher, the equipment manager at Louisville, was indicted for extortion. As if that weren't bad enough, she did indeed become pregnant through their liaison-or at least she said that's how she got pregnant back in 2003. And Pitino gave her some money. She says it was for an abortion. He said it was because she needed health insurance. Which wasn't his original story to the FBI.
One of the more peculiar aspects of this story involves the meeting at which she informed him that she was in a family way. Pitino and Sypher met to discuss this situation at the condo owned by the equipment manager. Who eventually became Tim Sypher's husband. That's where she met him. I mean, that's just bizarre. Not only that, but this means she has been hanging around at basketball games and office functions since that fateful night in 2003. This could not have been much fun for Rick.
Mrs. Pitino: Why is Karen staring at you?
Mr. Pitino: Karen who?
Oh and it gets worse. Sypher went to the Louisville police after she got indicted. She claimed Pitino raped her twice. The cops noted some New Holland Tunnel gaps in her story and didn't charge Pitino with anything. Meanwhile, the local media up in the Bluegrass State have dug up a picture of Sypher in something slinky for a personal profile in a website called sugardaddies.com. They dug up a sexual harassment lawsuit that she filed against a former employer in 2000. Claims she was sexually assaulted by the boss on numerous occasions. The case settled. And now, she says that the equipment manager was paid by Rick Pitino to marry her in order to ensure her continued silence. Yeah right.
This woman is no longer "inconvenient" as they used to say. She is now even more trouble than she was back in 2003. Because now she won't shut up. Nooooooooo, this isn't going away anytime soon. And as long the missus allows him to remain in the home Rick Pitino is going to get to learn first hand what it must be like to be Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Mark Sanford. He will not like this experience.
As you might imagine, there are people, notably Roman Catholic people, calling for his scalp. As you also might imagine, since Rick Pitino is one of the most famous coaches in the history of the game and a proven money maker, the UofL brass is sticking with him.
And yes there certainly is a morals clause in Pitino's contract and his escapade has brought unwanted negative publicity to both himself and his employer. And yes, other coaches have been fired for similar sex and alcohol related misdeeds. And no, Pitino would not tolerate this sort of behavior from one of his players.
But this is Men's DI hoops we are talking about, where hypocrisy is as much an active ingredient as the ability to stick the jumper. We may make way too much of coaches being role models. Adults should be role models and that is where Pitino has failed. But it's not like he has a history of this sort of behavior-at least that's not his reputation-so while perhaps his behavior merits disciplinary action of some sort, he certainly does not deserve to be fired.
Men and women have been behaving stupidly with their clothes off since before the time of King David. He is just one more. If his wife and family can live with it, I certainly can. It is none of my business.
But still. Folks have said that it everybody would be better off if Pitino took a leave of absence for awhile. I mean, my God. Just wait until the Cardinals go visit the Wildcats at Rupp. Imagine the signs those kids are gonna come up with. How could anybody bear up under such stress?
Easy. The coaching world is full of outsized egos and Pitino's is one of the biggest. If you have any doubt about that just consult the quote at the top of the page. He made this statement about the time that Sypher got indicted last Spring. He lost a brother-in-law in the attack on the World Trade Towers. Just like then, he said he would "get through this in a positive way and move on."
Up until now I thought the 9/11 attacks were one of the most craven acts of terrorism in history. Rick Pitino thinks it's all about him.
He'll get through this just fine. Really he will.