Bashing Rick Pitino: Coach's Heartless Apology Shows True Character

Jay KingCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 29:  Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals walks with his head down against the Michigan State Spartans during the fourth round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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I've always been taught to forgive somebody who apologizes to me.

But what if his apology is heartless? What if his apology has no more emotion than the cold and sinful act he committed? What if the way he apologizes makes me resent him even a little more than I already do?

I saw highlights of Rick Pitino's apology press conference yesterday, and I was ashamed. 

Pitino, who should have been devastated by the publicizing of his affair and impregnation of his mistress, showed little to no remorse as he apologized to his family, his players, and—get this—his recruits.

Ever the opportunist, Pitino somehow found a way to transform his first public comments since his embarrassing and unfaithful behavior into another venue to reach out to prospective Louisville Cardinals.

On a day where Pitino should have broken down in front of a national audience, begging for forgiveness and revealing his deep sorrow to his wife and family, Pitino did ask for forgiveness, but he said it without any emotion, seemingly devoid of any passion at all.

In fact, I'm sure most Celtics fans will remember a press conference where Pitino was certainly far more emotional, far more caring. It was when Pitino, following a losing streak by his Boston Celtics, told Boston that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish weren't "walking through that door."

Pitino blew his cool that day, losing his mind along with every bit of respect most of Boston had for him. Whatever admiration I still had for Pitino I lost that day, as he blamed all his failures on his personnel, throwing his entire team under the bus. 

Pitino handled losing in Boston with the same grace, dignity, and class with which he has apparently handled his marriage—that is to say, none. The same way he once threw his Celtics' players to the wolves, Pitino has now done to his family.

Not only did he cheat on his wife, because that's bad enough, but he also impregnated a woman and paid her $3,000 to get an abortion (or for "health insurance," depending on who you're asking).  

Two days ago, six years after cheating on his wife and being unfaithful to his entire family, including his five children, Pitino had a chance to at least apologize with class, apologize as if he truly understood the mistake he's made and felt bad for the mountain of pain he’s put his family through. 

Instead, he came off as a callous, shallow asshole who couldn't begin to comprehend the grief his family must be facing right now. 

His kids now have a father who is suddenly the most famous adulterer in the state of Kentucky, and they must live every day with the knowledge that their father's love for his family wasn't enough to keep him from making a deep mistake.

His wife now has a husband who is the most famous scumbag in the state of Kentucky, and she must live with the knowledge that she is not the only woman he's impregnated since their marriage, with the knowledge that a wild night in the back of a restaurant was enough to keep him from fulfilling his marital vows.

Their father couldn't even look sincere in his apology. The words that came out of Pitino's mouth were the right words, but he said them with the conviction of Roger Clemens during his Congressional hearing, when Clemens denied his usage of steroids, despite all evidence pointing against him.

Clemens was not believable in his denials, and Pitino was not believable as he uttered that he has apologized to his family every day for his indiscretions and that he feels so horribly about what he's done—especially after he decided to take the big stage granted for his apology and use it to speak to his recruits.

In fact, Pitino has a long history of tossing his loved ones aside on his way to attaining success. A Sports Illustrated article from 1996, written by William Nack, discusses the death of Pitino's son, Daniel, by congenital heart failure.

While Rick's wife, Joanne, mourned the loss of Daniel and prayed not to leave the home she had once shared with her sickly child, Pitino went against her wishes and accepted a job with the New York Knicks. According to the article, Joanne said that day, "I can't believe he's doing this to me again.

"We just got here! How can he ask me to pick up and leave again? I've been through this too many times. I can't believe, after all I've been through this year, that he is asking me to [move] again."

Later in the story, it appears as if Joanne became resigned to a life of being overrun by her husband, a life of having her opinions, dreams, and wishes count as nothing: "She would ultimately give in, of course, just as she always had, surrendering to the forces that drive her husband, because she loves him so dearly. 'I have accepted his ambition and his drive,' she says. 'I used to fight it, but I can't win, because it is a part of him.'"

Pitino has always been a snake and a rat. It just took something like an extramarital affair and a subsequent abortion for a lot of the country to finally figure that out.

Back in 1997, Pitino came to Boston intent on setting the NBA world on fire, on righting a proud franchise that had fallen on hard times.

Instead, Pitino himself ended up burning in flames of defeat, marked by a long string of losses and a failure to mount any playoff success, finally leaving town woefully short of meeting expectations.

Now, the flames engulfing Pitino are hotter than ever, a forest fire surrounding Louisville’s charismatic but deceitful head coach.

The smoke signals should have alerted everybody a long, long time ago.

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