Ask anyone at ESPN, especially Dick Vitale, and they will tell you that Bob Knight is all class, baby. He does things the right way, is an excellent teacher and is the standard bearer for all things good about college athletics. What they won't mention, however, is that Bob Knight is a boorish thug who bullies and intimidates those he dislikes. Here's a look at some of Knight's "Greatest Hits" on his worldwide hypocrisy tour.
In 1979 Knight was charged, and later convicted, of assaulting a Puerto Rican police officer. Always one to stand up and take responsibility for his actions, Knight never appeared for his trial and to this date has never served any of his sentence for his conviction. The Puerto Rican government finally gave up on pursuing Knight in the late 1980s.
Knight gets so incensed with a call in a 1985 Big Ten game against rival Purdue that he decides to toss a chair across the court in anger. Practicing the upstanding morals that he demands of everyone, Knight didn't harm anyone with the chair toss and would later joke about the incident on several occasions. Years later the chair tosser, commenting on Neil Reed, stated that if IU would have taped practices back in the day, then he would have been fired years ago.
Knight showed more of his fine judgment in a 1988 interview with Connie Chung, when he compared poor officiating to getting raped. Knight, as he so often does, teaches us all a lesson about perspective, decency and compassion when he says, "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it." Well said, Coach Knight. Well said. We've sat back and just enjoyed your commentary on ESPN for a couple of years now.
Former IU player Neil Reed claims that Knight once choked him in a practice. A firestorm develops and Knight's defenders set out to destroy Reed's name and ruin his life. Unfortunately for Knight and his fans, practice video of the incident surfaces and backs up Reed's claims. Miraculously, Knight keeps his job as Indiana's basketball coach.
Knight showed the world how to lose with class after his Indiana Hoosiers lost in the first round to Missouri in the 1995 NCAA tournament. After NCAA volunteer Rance Pugmire had mistakenly said Knight wouldn't be attending the postgame press conference, Knight taught us all how to deal with someone that gets the facts wrong (remember this phrase for later by the way). Here was the wisdom Knight shared with us that day according to ESPN.
"You've only got two people that are going to tell you I'm not going to be here. One is our SID [Sports Information Director], and the other is me. Who the hell told you I wasn't going to be here? I'd like to know. Do you have any idea who it was?...Who?...They were from Indiana, right?...No, they weren't from Indiana, and you didn't get it from anybody from Indiana, did you?...No, I—I'll handle this the way I want to handle it now that I'm here. You (EXPLETIVE) it up to begin with. Now just sit there or leave. I don't give (EXPLETIVE) what you do. Now back to the game."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
After being fired by Indiana, Bob Knight decided it was time to forget basketball for a few moments and instead teach Jeremy Schaap how to do his job as a journalist. After a testy interview with several tense moments, Knight turned on the charm and began educating Mr. Schaap on the finer points of his craft.
After treating Schaap like a child and lecturing him on how to ask questions, Knight then compared Schaap very unfavorable to his journalist father Dick Schaap. While the points on Schaap might honestly have been warranted, Knight came across as the ultimate bully, threateningly imposing himself physically and verbally towards Schaap.
After being unceremoniously fired from Indiana, Bob Knight was soon hired to be the coach at Texas Tech University. Ever the lover of history, one would have thought that Knight might have learned from his mistakes at Indiana and changed his ways at his new job. Then again, Bob Knight doesn't make mistakes.
While at Texas Tech Knight got into verbal altercations with other staff members, was alleged to have struck another player, attempted to get past security and go after a Baylor student for heckling him and was alleged to have fired a gun over the head of a neighbor he was in a dispute with.
According to Knight, none of the above was either true or his fault. According to the rest of the world, we had already seen this movie before and knew how it ended.
Since being hired by ESPN, Bob Knight has waged a verbal war with John Calipari decrying Coach Cal as the antithesis of everything that is good (and Bob Knight approved) with collegiate athletics. And for the most part, the verbal barbs stayed directed at Calipari.
However, on April 18th video surfaced of Bob Knight saying that the entire starting five of Kentucky's 2009-2010 Elite Eight team played the second semester while never going to any classes. Kentucky's administration and former players quickly refuted those claims, which were found to be complete fabrications by Knight. Knight offered a half-hearted apology and said he shouldn't have attacked Kentucky or their players personally, but refused to admit he had made the allegations up. Unsurprisingly, Dick Vitale staunchly defended Knight.