October 19, 2011
Rick Pitino's latest comments about Big East realignment are going to be received about as well as O.J. Simpson speaking out against domestic violence or the Boston Red Sox pitching staff complaining their work environment's too taxing.
Asked by USA Today at Wednesday's Big East Media Day for his thoughts on Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolting for the ACC, Pitino reiterated his disgust at seeing two cornerstones of the Big East abandon the league so abruptly. Unfortunately, the Louisville coach chose the worst possible analogy to make his point clear.
"My problem is not them leaving," he said. "My problem is you did it in 48 hours. Don't run away with a girl after one date when you've been dating someone else for three or four years. You've been dating this woman for 30 years, show a little respect."
Had Jay Wright or Bob Huggins made such a statement, it probably wouldn't have made a ripple nationally. It's far less forgivable for Pitino to say it just over a year after the embarrassment of having to publicly reveal in court that he cheated on his wife of 27 years by having sex with Karen Sypher after hours at a Louisville restaurant in 2003.
Not surprisingly, the sports blogosphere is having some fun at Pitino's expense in the wake of his ill-advised comment. In fact, even the Louisville contingent would prefer he "take more time with the analogies."
The worst part is that Pitino's message is a good one. It's sad to consider the Big East without Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and perhaps universities should be more conscious of tradition rather than always making decisions with their wallet.
Previously, Pitino likened Pittsburgh's chancellor to a character from "The Godfather" for preaching loyalty in Big East meetings only to leave the first chance he received. Perhaps that's the analogy Pitino should stick with in the future.