Sports world filled with double-standards
The 15 seconds of fame ‘ in more ways than one ‘ are apparently over for Karen Sypher, who was found guilty last week of three counts of extortion, two counts of lying to the FBI and one count of retaliating against a witness after attempting to extort millions of dollars from University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Shortly after the verdict was read, U of L athletic director Tom Jurich held a press conference to discuss the outcome. As members of the media lobbed questions to Jurich, the single most important question (in this writer’s eyes, anyway) was never asked: If Pitino has a morality clause in his contract, at what point are morals factored into a decision on whether or not to keep him on as coach?
The contract’s wording is as follows: ‘Disparaging media publicity of a material nature that damages the good name and reputation of Employer or University, if such publicity is caused by Employee’s willful misconduct that could objectively be anticipated to bring Employee into public disrepute or scandal, or which tends to greatly offend the public, or any class thereof on the basis of invidious distinction.’
Did the 17-month ordeal not fall into the category of scandalous?
Morality is defined as having principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. From a moral standpoint, if Pitino admitted to having an extramarital affair, and he gave Sypher $3,000 that she used for an abortion, does that not qualify?
What does? Driving while intoxicated (hello, Bob Huggins)? Academic fraud (how you doing, Clem Haskins)? Or does the morality clause conveniently only come into play once the losses outnumber the wins?
Granted, neither act Pitino admitted to is in of itself a crime in this country. Sadly, marriages are ruined each day due to lapses in judgment and character. And, according to statistics, about 3,000 abortions take place each day.
But just because those things have become commonplace in American society doesn’t mean we have to accept them. We shouldn’t accept them. Strong morals should be more important and have more impact on society than wins and losses.
As I listened to talking heads on sports radio last week, a reoccurring theme from callers was how much good Pitino has done for the community and the university, and this scandal should be in everyone’s rearview mirror. The host agreed.
Unfortunately, I don’t know where they stood in regard to former Indiana University coaching legend Bobby Knight, who was often criticized for his sideline and press conference tirades. But whenever someone brought up the good he’d done for the community, the university and the millions he’d donated to the IU library, folks said the bad outweighed the good. Shocking as it may seem, Knight might fare better in today’s society than he did when he was fired 10 years ago.
Double-standards and contractual lip service are nothing new in the sports world. This time, it was just a little closer to home.