Louisville coach Rick Pitino skipped his postgame press conference after losing at Kentucky on Saturday and Monday he posted an explanation on his website.
Pitino used to coach at Kentucky and won a national title at the school. He said playing there every other year is an emotional expeirence for him and he decided it was best not to talk about the experience. He said he made the decision before the game and informed his sports information staff, but they failed to tell reporters until after the game.
"Once every two years, it’s an extremely emotional and difficult experience for me to coach in Rupp Arena," Pitino wrote. "I knew that when I accepted the job at Louisville, but it’s never easy. We give them credit for the victory and we hope to grow after the loss."
The rivalry game with Kentucky is one of the biggest each year for Louisville and it seems like a bad time for the head coach to choose not to talk. It's also questionable decision-making for a man who is supposed to be setting an example for his players on how to handle adversity.
That is one way of viewing Pitino's decision and it's certainly valid to a certain extent.
One could also say it was a wise decision on Pitino's part not to put himself in a situation in which he might say something he regrets. In that case, he's certainly providing his players a valuable example.
But any honest assessment of Pitino's decision not to talk on Saturday must also take into consideration the fact that this wasn't the first time this season that Pitino skipped a postgame session with the media. He has done so on multiple occasions because he is not required to talk after games by the Atlantic Coast Conference except after conference games.
There is also the ongoing scandal surrounding the Louisville program over allegations from a self-described former escort that she provided strippers and sex for Louisville players, which she says were paid for by former Louisville basketball graduate assistant Andre McGee, who has denied the claims. Pitino has been advised by counsel not to discuss the case and a postgame press conference is certainly a place where he could face questions on the subject.
Pitino certainly isn't the first and won't be the last college coach to choose not to do the postgame press conference on occasion. Kentucky coach John Calipari has skipped postgame press conferences before. Toward the end of his coaching career Bob Knight didn't always do the postgame press conference, sending an assistant to handle the responsibility for him.
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