BASKETBALL: Rick Pitino, Scumbag

I’ve been a fan of Rick Pitino since his Knicks days, but this story sucks and it stinks and it sucks:

University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino told police that he had consensual sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher at a Louisville restaurant where he’d been drinking on Aug. 1, 2003.
He also told police that he later gave Sypher $3,000 to have an abortion, according to Louisville Metro Police reports The Courier-Journal obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

Ugh. Read the whole thing, it doesn’t get prettier.

12 thoughts on “BASKETBALL: Rick Pitino, Scumbag”

  1. When I was a kid Pitino came to a basketball camp I attended each summer. He was the coach of Providence at the time. Even as a young teenager I could tell he was the most conceited, arrogant, self-important, ego-maniacal ass I had ever met. He ran the Celtics into the ground with his narcissisitc outlook on life. Color me not surprised by this little incident. While I think the woman is likely a gold-digging loon I’m sure it never even dawned on Pitino that he was anything but bulletproof.

  2. Pitino’s an excellent coach, but like many a successful college basketball coach (or politician, for that matter) he’s always been more than a bit of a hustler. I don’t find this especially surprising.
    This will deplete his bank of goodwill at Louisville, but it’s nothing a Final Four appearance wouldn’t sweep under the rug. It’s fortunate for him that he’s not coaching at a Catholic college, though.

  3. He’s done. He may not know it yet, but he’s done. What attributes does a coach sell to a recruit and his parents? Honesty? Loyalty? Intelligence? Judgment? Some combination of these and other traits? Opposing coaches won’t even have to work to demonstrate that Pitino is lacking in most if not all of those traits. Beyond that, Louisville’s (and other school’s) AD will quickly decide that he is dead on the recruiting front.

  4. I’m no fan of Pitino, but except for the fact that he cheated on his wife (something I don’t approve of, by the way, but hardly a shocker in Celeb-land), what makes him a scumbag here?
    Her story has holes all over it; investigators and prosecutors don’t believe her; the weight of evidence suggests that they had consensual sex.
    Crank, the part of the story that truly bugs you is the abortion, isn’t it? Take that out of the story and I doubt you even write about it, let alone call him a “scumbag.”

  5. I don’t put much stock in most of the woman’s story, although really the fact that she’s a lowlife doesn’t exactly make Pitino look better.
    We are inured – myself included – to the fact that a lot of our heroes in sports and elsewhere cheat on their wives, and we can’t just run them all out of town. That doesn’t make it any less worthy of denouncing.
    But yes, the abortion is the worst part of this and raises this beyond the level of ordinary infidelity. And why shouldn’t it? There’s no hiding behind the usual rhetoric here about how a woman should control her own body, etc. – Rick Pitino is a man. No man ever has any excuse whatsoever for being complicit in an abortion, mush less encouraging one. Even John Edwards didn’t stoop that low. It’s not as if there was any reason for the abortion other than inconvenience.

  6. File this one along with the “David Vitter, scumbag” “Mark Sanford, scumbag” and John Ensign, scumbag” columns?
    I assume your ironic use of “scumbag” was unintentional.
    Because she said she was pregnant and said she had an abortion, doesn’t mean that either one of those things is true. She would have been better off financially to give birth and hit Pitino up for child support.
    Um, by the way, abortions are legal in this country and your screed about no man ever having an excuse for any involvement in an abortion is fine as religious dogma, but that is all that it is.

  7. Magrooder, I seem to remember you commenting on my Sanford columns, so I suspect you read them.
    If it turns out there was no abortion, then I stand corrected.
    I take it that it is your position that there are only two types of behavior in this country?
    1. Things that are illegal under current law
    2. Things that can only be disapproved of as a matter of religious dogma
    Remember never to criticize the behavior of anyone for anything that is legal under current law, then. So much for the possibility that a person can have a moral conscience of any kind unless commanded by religious dogma. You’ve just gone and insulted a lot of aethiests, there.

  8. Crank,
    Good response. Whenever folks go down the path of saying it is just religious bs to oppose immoral actions/behavior I want to ask them if they believe that all athiests are amoral? I’ve known some very good and decent people who had no belief in God at all and I’ve known some folks who attended church weekly (or weakly) and seemed to embody evil.
    I don’t know if Pitino is a scumbag, or if he fits the description of dozen of other adjectives because I don’t know the truth of this story and his actions therein. He is human and like all of us he erred. Whatever he did is done. Whatever he does with the rest of his life will show whether Crank’s declaring him a scumbag was appropriate or premature.

  9. I personally do not think it makes rational sense, when you think about it at length, for aetheists to believe in any morality higher than individual self-interest, but I know plenty of them who do.

  10. If the woman in question was actually pregnant, and decided on her own to have an abortion, I don’t think Pitino did anything additionally wrong (beyond what he’d already done) by paying for it.
    Were it to turn out that he pressured her to have an abortion she didn’t want, that would be another story, and raise this to a different level of scumminess in my eyes.

  11. Crank, my comment about religious dogma as directed at you and not anyone else who might happen to agree with you. I’ve read many of your columns tagged “religion,” and commented on that basis.
    I happen to believe that not all abortions should be legal, but I also believe reasonable minds can differ (and I do not believe that the issue ought to be one reserved solely to the discretion of the woman).
    Yes, I read your Sanford columns, but I recall them being largely apologies for the hypocrits willing to pin the scarlet letters on others, but unwilling to live up to their professed morality.
    I don’t know if she was really pregnant or not, I was simply observing that she does not seem the most credible person.
    Finally, your dichotomy of the two types of behavior in which I believe is typically simplistic. Some legal behaviors are immoral and some ilegal behaviors are moral. The word is not as black and white as you appear to want it to be.

  12. Were it to turn out that he pressured her to have an abortion she didn’t want, that would be another story, and raise this to a different level of scuminess in my eyes.
    I can agree with that.
    Certain irony here, of course, in that had Slick Rick worn a scumbag, Crank wouldn’t be calling him one.

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