On sports talk radio Tuesday morning, former Indiana University head coach Bob Knight said a very stupid thing. He also phrased a very stupid thing inappropriately. He referenced rape while talking about something that had nothing to do with rape, as if anything other than the act of rape could be compared with rape.
He used it while discussing a particular aspect of pro and “amateur” sports, the latter of which he has profited greatly from, something we’re charged with writing about -- even if mentioning it in a column that references the act of rape somewhat leads us to unfortunately mirror what Bob Knight did.
ESPN, who, along with Applebee’s, employs Bob Knight, featured the ex-basketball coach on the Mike and Mike Show on Tuesday morning. Via Sporting News, here was Knight’s takeaway line:
"If I were involved with the NBA, I wouldn't want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I've been watching on another team and now he's 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid. On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to college basketball. It's as though they've raped college basketball in my opinion.”
So there’s Bobby Knight, the execrable mini-man who has done this before, still tossing the word “rape” around as if it is something one can use in reference to anything but rape, as if the mere mention of it doesn’t drag victims right back to the dark place they’ve been trying to get out of since they were victimized by the most horrific of living crimes.
The only thing that is comparable to rape is rape. Don’t use the word “rape” if you’re referencing anything else.
Now, you want to talk about “disservice?” OK, let’s have at it.
Bobby Knight made his millions coaching young basketball players who made shoe companies, national TV networks, myriad advertisers and hundreds of universities billions of dollars. Some of those players, many of whom would receive employment from professional leagues, worked for free. Because several expected high-end 2014 NBA draft picks are now out of the tournament, costing the NCAA a go-to star to promote on national TV in order to again raise those billions, Knight is complaining. His thoughts are not unlike that of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who offered this self-severing pile of tripe on Sunday when asked if some of his players should be encouraged to seek employment by the NBA:
“I’m not going to be specific about anybody but my experience is guys look and if they see they fall where they’re favorable [they leave]…If you go 15th in the draft, you’re nothing. You might be out of the league in two years. It used to be a first-round draft pick you had a chance. That’s nothing. Those guys are out of the league. Half the guys taken in the first round the last three years are not even in the league.
“Kemba Walker, he’s about what, the 20th best point guard in the NBA? If he’d have played here for us yesterday, he’d have had 40 points. That’s what he would’ve had and everybody would’ve said, ‘Jeez, he’s pretty good.’”
Forget the weird jerk-ishness of calling Walker merely a top 20 NBA point guard. Understand that what Jim Boeheim is asking is for Walker to give up on three years of working for an employer that wanted to hire him, making $7.5 million along the way, just so he could purportedly dominate a college basketball tournament – making the University of Connecticut, several TV stations and other sponsors quite a bit of money – just so “everybody” could say, “Jeez, he’s pretty good.”
These are the small men you are dealing with. The men who want to continue to perpetuate the farce that is “amateur” sports at the money-making end of the NCAA.
Jim Boeheim getting things wrong about the 15th pick in the draft being “nothing” and being in danger of tossed out of the NBA, and completely making up lies about “half the guys being taken in the first round the last three years are not even in the league” are just the sad, fitful self-serving quotes of a man whose high-paying job should be an anachronism. He's fighting for the rights of a corporation like the NCAA that is borderline anti-American in its “you-make-us-billions-we’ll-give-you-a-scholarship” practice of begging its players not to seek compensation for their work.
Knight, somehow, topped him. When it comes to being wrong all over, you can always count on Bobby Knight.
ESPN, as of now, has no comment.
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