Daily dump: Did Pitino invoke 9/11 for 'sympathy'?

Matt TarrContributor IAugust 12, 2009

Louisville coach Rick Pitino stepped up to a row of microphones on Wednesday afternoon and tried his best to quell the storm that arose after the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal reported a day earlier that he had sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher in a local restaurant six years earlier, and later gave her $3,000 so she could have an abortion.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino

Louisville coach Rick Pitino

Gauging from the reactions posted on various message boards and social networking sites following the news conference, however, the storm may be far from over. Here’s a smattering of Twitter posts from late Wednesday:

“Memo to coach Pitino … Don’t bring 911 for sympathy”

“Seriously, did Pitino play the 9/11 card in his little presser today?”

“It’s never an official Pitino press conference if he doesn’t reference 9/11.”

“So, what did 9/11 have to do with Rick Pitino nailing some chick in a restauraunt?”

Sensing a theme here? While Pitino’s statement elicited thousands of responses, many seemed particularly outraged that the embattled coach would mention the 9/11 tragedy in the carefully crafted statement. Here’s the actual transcript of Pitino’s comment:

“When 9/11 hit, you needed a community to get you over it. … In Louisville, the impact wasn’t felt like New York City, but I needed this community to help me get over it. The university officials and my friends and loved ones have helped me through this very difficult time.”

So why on earth would Pitino bring up Sept. 11 at all during his statement? Was it indeed to elicit sympathy? Or was it a genuine response from a man speaking honestly amid what had to be the most difficult day of his professional life?

Only Pitino knows the answer, and chances are he’s not going to expand on his statement anytime soon. He left the news conference Wednesday without taking questions from reporters.

Our response in general to Pitino’s news conference is the same reaction we have anytime a public figure issues a public apology in the wake of an embarrassing incident. Did he apologize because he’s genuinely sorry, or did he apologize for getting caught? Considering the incident at the center of this controversy took place six years ago, we’re guessing it’s the latter.

- Pitino apologizes, but plans to stick around (Courier-Journal)

- Samford Law School to Pitino: “Thanks, but no thanks.” (Deadspin)

- Pitino’s lawyer says $3,000 payment was for health insurance, not abortion. (ESPN/AP)

- That “moral depravity” contract clause could be a bit of a problem. (Courier-Journal)

- Shockingly, UK fans savoring every moment of Pitino episode (Intentional Foul)

Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch

How about some (gasp!) non-Pitino links to finish Thursday’s roundup?:

- Here’s a shocker: media may have jumped the gun in trashing Patrick Kane (The Rookies)

- Six college football coaches on the proverbial hot seat in 2009 (NCAA Gridiron Gab)

- In honor of Kevin Youkilis’ slap-and-tickle fight, the top five acts of baseball fight cowardice (Sports Tsar)

- Bengals and “Hard Knocks” a wet dream for NFL Network’s marketing department (Sharapova’s Thigh)

- Speaking of marketing wet dreams … Jennie Finch, official spokesperson for ProMounds. Yeah, like we could make up something that good. (Sportress of Blogitude)

- And finally, more evidence that all celebrities are indeed crazy: Kate Hudson wants A-Rod’s bun in her oven, stat. (In Touch via Sports Crackle Pop)