Earlier today Rick Pitino gave us another window into his deep-seated psychosis with an emotional, rambling response to the media coverage of his extra-marital affair and the abortion he provided Karen Sypher. Pitino bizarrely lashed out at the Louisville media for having the gall to report on and release tapes of Sypher’s testimony that were PROVIDED THEM BY POLICE. If Pitino was to be upset with an organization, it should’ve been local law enforcement. But lest you forget, every day is opposite day in Rick Pitino’s tornado of self-delusion.
(Last time I post this, PROMISE)
Almost as bizarre as Pitino’s behavior has been ESPN’s coverage of the situation. Like the entire media, Bristol barely covered the case brought by the FBI early this year until the LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL went public with Pitino’s extra-marital affair and abortion story.
It’s safe to assume that Forde has benefited financially from his relationship with Pitino, so at the very least you would expect ESPN and/or Forde to note the nature of his relationship to the coach before all that reportage, right?
Pat Forde of ESPN just tweeted: “Rick Pitino has called 3 a.m. (sic) press conference. No indication of the subject yet.“
I’ve criticized Forde enough on his non-coverage of Pitino’s extra-marital sex and abortion case, and I hate to be cynical … but if anyone knows the subject of the presser, it’s Forde. (He co-authored a book with Pitino and has a home in Louisville.)
Ironic that the man most identified with the unrelenting full court press is finding himself harassed and boxed in by new allegations every day. The Rick Pitino sex scandal is a gift from Hell that keeps on giving, and today’s special delivery is yet another claim by the aggrieved party, Karen Sypher.
Sypher, the woman with whom Pitino has admitted having consenual sex in 2003 (she says he raped her, which he denies), said on Thursday that she now thinks Pitino hired her husband, Tim Sypher, to marry her. It was all a plot, she says, to keep an eye on her in case she decided to tell what happened.
Psychosis: “The fundamental derangement of the mind (as in schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality especially as evidenced by delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech and behavior.”
(See what happens when you let the terrorists win?)
That’s the only word I can find to describe Rick Pitino’s performance at his Wednesday press conference in Louisville. He quite obviously has crossed over into O.J. mode, completely erasing from his mind any semblance of responsibility for his extra-marital affair and the subsequent abortion.
The absolute lowest of the low though was his invoking a wildly inappropriate and bizarre reference to 9/11:
“Besides my apology to the university — and in particular to Tom Jurich and Dr. Ramsey, who have been very strong with me throughout this period — I also apologize to my extended family, which is all of the fans. I came here at a very difficult time. When 9/11 hit, you needed a community to get you over it.
In New York City, it was easy because everybody knew the devastation of that and they got each other 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.”
FYI: Pitino was hired by Louisville in March, 2001, six months before 9/11. And the pain that he describes from the event? It was derived from the loss of his wife Joanne’s brother, Billy Minardi.
Minardi’s sister, Joanne Pitino, is the same wife who Pitino cheated on with Karen Sypher twice in August, 2003, less than two years after 9/11. So I’m sure Joanne is very happy to know Sypher was part of their “extended family” who helped Coach Rick get over the pain of her brother’s death!
Of course, that wasn’t the only gem Pitino polished off for us Wednesday in an address that will long be esconced in the SbB “Opposite Day!” Hall of Fame. Read more…
Sypher fired back with a rape charge against Pitino, saying that the liaison that led to her pregnancy was an assault, and not a consensual incident. Pitino was never charged with anything because Sypher’s story is full of holes and she could offer no evidence of such an assault (in fact, she went on to marry Louisville’s equipment manager, Tim Sypher, ensuring that she would be spending more time around Pitino).
So now what for Pitino? His lawyer says he’s not making any public statements until the trial, but this is a pretty large matzo ball just hanging out there now. There’s not much else going in Louisville other than this, so it’s just going to keep building and building. How can the guy be an effective coach at this point?
I won’t try and recount the entire COURIER-JOURNAL story here (however, it’s well worth your time to read it), but I will mention a few things that have stood out for me since taking some time to digest everything:
1A. If Sypher filed a civil suit against Pitino for allegedly raping her, would ESPN find that worthy of coverage?
2. We don’t know for sure that this was Pitino’s kid, right? Pitino says he would request a paternity test if she decided to have the kid, but she opted for an abortion instead. She then accepted $3,000 from him for the procedure. She clearly had the abortion, but isn’t it possible that she went to Pitino for the money because she knew he would pay up? He says she told him that she hadn’t had sex with anyone else in months, but she hasn’t appeared to be entirely trustworthy here.
3. Pitino says that he and Karen Sypher met at Tim Sypher’s condo (she and Tim didn’t know each other at the time) to talk about the pregnancy and figure out what to do. Now, knowing what was going on, what on earth would make Tim go “you know what, I think I need to get aboard the Karen train”? Shockingly, the Syphers are now estranged.
4. UL president Tom Jurich is quoted as saying that Pitino “has been truthful about this matter with us all along.” Does that mean the school has known all of these details for six years? If not, when did they find out? Was there any sort of off-the-record punishment for this? Some coaches have gotten canned for drinking beer at a frat party, so I can’t imagine that UL would’ve taken too kindly to their married coach impregnating a woman at a restaurant.
5. Pitino isn’t in any sort of trouble legally, but as this drags on in court it’s going to be a huge distraction. Was that a consideration in bringing Ralph Willard over from Holy Cross to be his new lead assistant? Willard’s exactly the kind of guy who could step in on an interim basis if Pitino decides to either take time off or step down altogether. Pitino actually had a possible way out of Louisville a few months ago when the Sacramento Kings were looking for a new coach, but he decided to stick around.
(UL’s next coach?)
It may not be the biggest soccer game the U.S. has ever played, but today’s showdown with Mexico in a World Cup qualifier sure seems like a big deal. That’s probably because ESPN has spent an inordinate amount of time hyping the game. Having just acquired English Premier League rights, and coming off a summer of showing a number of games involving European clubs touring the U.S., the network is clearly committed to promoting the sport like never before. And they finally seem to have realized that they way to make the game more popular in this country is to give us less MLS and more actual good soccer.
(USA! USA! USA!)
That recent commitment has resulted in a first — ESPN has sent Bob Ley and Alexi Lalas down to Mexico City to put on a 30-minute pre-game show for today’s match. This despite the fact that the game isn’t being shown on ESPN (it’s on some channel called mun2 if you’re wondering).
Despite all the attention, the game is much less crucial to the U.S. than it may seem. The Americans are comfortable in second place in the qualifying group, and while a loss to Mexico wouldn’t be ideal, the U.S. would still have the edge in the standings. The expectations aren’t exactly high, either — the U.S. is 0-22-1 in Mexico.
That puts all of the pressure squarely on Mexico, which sits in fourth place in the group and needs to get into the top three to automatically qualify for the World Cup. A loss to the U.S. would be a complete disaster and might put them in too deep a hole to dig out of. In other words, the Americans don’t have a whole lot to lose out there, and if they can shock Azteca Stadium with an early goal, watch out. That won’t be easy, though, as this LA TIMES article contends. At 7,400 feet in the middle of a smoggy afternoon in a cavernous stadium that will be shaking with noise, it’s maybe the worst stadium atmosphere for visitors in the entire world.
It was a poor effort by Youk, who had all the upper hand when he tossed his helmet at a stunned Porcello, and still ended up getting spun down to the ground by the 20-year-old. In other words, he only did marginally better than Zimmer.