Pitino trial is over, legacy likely forever affected
Karen Sypher lied, and she’s going to pay for it.
The extortionist was held accountable for all six counts she was charged with, still she’s convinced she was robbed of righteous judicial protocol. Nevertheless, three, four years down the road, for many, her name will fade away, while she pays her dues in jail and awaits release. She’ll be a “who was that girl … ” entry-line into a discussion whenever Rick Pitino’s name comes up in regard to his off-the-court tabooed transgressions.
Despite winning, Rick Pitino ultimately loses. I’m not the first to write or come to this conclusion, I’m merely further hammering home the point. This is his own fault, yes, but I’m not talking right or wrong. Just what’s bound to happen.
Pitino’s got that stain to carry around with him for the remainder of his coaching days, and even beyond. If he doesn’t keep patroling a sideline into his ’70s, then I think he’ll go back into TV when he finally puts down the white board.
And even then, years, decades down the road, his name will still be synonymous with a sex trial, an abortion and 15 seconds of defame. It’s not the worst thing — if he’s able to keep Louisville relavent in the ever-competitive, über-talented Big East, he’ll work his way back to being more known for his coaching than his sexing.
From an X-and-O standpoint, he’s still one of the most respected leaders in the game.
“I’m not concerning myself with the perceptions,” Pitino said. “I told the truth from day one [of him being extorted in 2009, not of the encounter in 2003] to my employer to [UL athletic director] Tom Jurich and to Dr. [James] Ramsey and to my family right away. The only thing I was concerned with was telling the truth. I taught my players over the last 30 years that if you tell the truth your problems will become a part of the past. If you lie, they are a part of your future.”
Pitino also told Katz in regard to his role in the trial/this mess, “I was a witness. That was all.”
Ha. Sorry, but no. The only name of importance in the trial was Pitino’s. He was so much more than a witness. In fact, most probably couldn’t even tell you this was the Louisville U.S. Attorney’s office vs. Sypher. From a judicial perspective, this wasn’t so much to do about Pitino. But the public, of course it revolves around him.
The Louisville coach can make his peace with his family and God and all that, and that’s fine and good, but the long-term battle is still in its early stages. While some of the criticism was muted by way of opposing crowds last year (though I think TV directors had something to do with that by not showing the signs directed at Pitino), the quick-ejaculation detail that Pitino copped to in his testimony is the most salacious, squirmy nugget to emerge from the trial.
It’s new artillery for every opposing fan base. And now, with Pitino’s admittance on the record and all of his adulterer ways out there for eveyone, the recruiting could still yet take a hit. His cheating ways went public after last year’s recruiting period. The ripple effects will begin in 2010 and extend in the next few years.
Worth noting: The Big East’s coaches seem like the tightest group of any the Big Six conferences, so I’m not sure how much bad-mouthing will happen with intra-conference recruiting battles. It’s outside of that circle that Pitino will get feasted upon. The coaches who don’t deal with him very much, or at all, have open range on his reputation, and that’s bound to cost him a good player here and there.
While AAU coaches seem to now be as much a part of getting a player into a college, plenty of high-ranked guys are still getting advice from their married parents. There’s consequences for Pitino in that arena.
Pitino can talk about how he doesn’t care of public perception, but I can’t buy that. Most coaches are egomaniacs by nature, and Pitino most definitely falls into that category. His next big challenge will be putting on a face to try and convince the world he’s moved on, that this trial no longer affects him.
That’s a public-perception battle that will take years longer to win than his court case.