Neil Reed: Late Indiana Basketball Player Should Be Remembered in Positive Light
Best known as the former Indiana University basketball player who outed legendary head coach Bob Knight for choking him during a practice, Neil Reed passed away from a heart attack at the age of 36 on Thursday, according to Mike Strom of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Reed transferred to Southern Mississippi and was a key player for the Golden Eagles during the 1998-99 season. He remained quiet about the incident with Knight until 2000 when he finally came clean. That led to Knight being placed on zero-tolerance probation, and he was later fired after grabbing a student's arm.
Many accused Reed of being responsible for Knight's firing, but the truth of the matter is that Knight's explosive temper was the real culprit. Reed gained a reputation as a snitch, but he did the right thing as it was in no way appropriate for Knight to be physically assaulting his players or other students.
Because of that, Reed should be remembered as a brave person for coming forward rather than keeping the incident a secret. Knight had always been a fiery coach with a short fuse, but he was clearly spiraling out of control near the end of his tenure with the Hoosiers.
It stands to reason that Reed didn't want to hear about Knight bullying another player, so he did what he had to do and got things out in the open. I'm sure he knew that a legion of fans would blame him if Knight was ultimately fired, but his choice to be forthcoming was actually beneficial to future Indiana University players, and that is admirable.
This is certainly a sad ending for somebody who went through such a tumultuous basketball career. He went to Indiana with great promise, but the incident with Knight hurt him both physically and emotionally. It contributed to him falling out of love with basketball, according to Strom, and that is extremely unfortunate because he had a lot of talent.
Reed didn't receive the credit he deserved for stepping up in life, but perhaps he finally will in death. It is terrible that it takes such an extreme situation for people to realize the good that somebody did, but hopefully Reed is now remembered positively.
I'm sure Reed would have rather left a legacy that focused on what he did on the basketball court rather than off it, but there is no question that he has a spot in Hoosiers history. Some may never forgive Reed for blowing the whistle on Knight's unacceptable actions, but now that Reed's life has come to a tragic end, maybe more people will care to understand why he did it.
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