Pitino’s Presser May Only Prolong His Angst

Did Rick Pitino believe the local media wouldn’t use footage from the videotapes of his accuser’s interview with the police? Does he think his admonishments of the news media will discourage further exploitation of the situation involving Karen Sypher?

Calls a news conference. Unloads on the local media. Calls the woman a liar again. In the process, reviving a local story that had fallen off page one, refocusing the local and national media spotlight on himself again.

The quickly convened news conference confirmed that Pitino was naive in thinking he would be spared by the media from embarrassing accusations. He was shocked and angry, furious that the local media would not ignore the tapes because everyone thinks the accuser may be more than a little crazy.

That’s simply not the way it works, coach. The media frenzy is going to be repeated every time Sypher makes a nasty accusation during the federal trial. Possibly over and over day after day. The local and national media are going to be all over it, the local stations, especially even if they embarrass themselves as they did today, breaking into regular programming with live coverage of the tapes.

Pitino said he had been told by his attorney not to say anything, told by the university not to say anything, and told by the “authorities” not to say anything. His remarks today may have given Sypher’s defense attorney very strong rationale to request another venue, causing further delay, making the case drag on longer than necessary.

He will regret it if this case is still around in November as he is beginning a new basketball season. Pitino should have heeded the advice, rather than telling the media how to do its job.



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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

9 thoughts on “Pitino’s Presser May Only Prolong His Angst

  • August 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm
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    We’re the ones that are suffering the angst…getting spoon fed this stuff like we’re TMZ or Tattler devotees.
    If I were a reporter and had been summonded to this fiasco this afternoon, I would have been plenty P.O.’ed.

  • August 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm
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    This press conference was certainly a bad play call by Coach. However, I don’t really blame him for unleashing his temper. After all, the police report was released, without audio, two weeks ago. So why the sudden Keystone Kops efforts of our local tv stations to suddenly “report breaking news” today? Bad call on their part. Question for Coach: Why did you feel it necessary to stand in front of a UofL backdrop for this press conference??? Another bad call.

  • August 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm
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    He may impeded the legal case a bit but somebody needed to say what he said. A bunch of high school reporters sitting in the news chairs at local television stations, making themselves look like total idiots without any sensitivity whatsoever.

  • August 26, 2009 at 10:10 pm
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    The tone was accusatory and anger. His eyes flashed when he assured the media that they would know the truth when it went to court. No, the FBI doesn’t go after jaywalkers. But, they don’t pursue extortionists with the same vigor they go after drug lords and terrorists either. Put the crazy lady away and let’s move on.

    Let it end. Let it slip back into the footlights. Justin Burke got his 5 hours of fame before Pitino strode to the podium today and bit the hand that could make life uncomfortable for him. If I was Justin, I’d be pissed about the “pardon the interruption” ploy by Pitino.

    Lets go back to receiver depth charts and opponent’s defensive weaknesses. Let’s return to conference projections and the race for the Heisman. Let’s argue running back rotation.

    I want my sports and I want it now. Put away the jugglers, clowns and calliopies. Its football season, act like it. Rick will get his 5 months of media soon enough.

  • August 26, 2009 at 10:51 pm
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    Coach Pitino is too sharp not to know that holding a press conference is no way to squelch a juicy story. And, yes, he should listen to those who advise him to zip it, but apparently he didn’t heed that wise counsel.

    So then, how do we account for today’s ill-conceived “blame it on the media” snit aimed at local media that have been, if anything, quite timid about covering this story from the outset? If anything, he ought to be thanking his lucky stars that the press has been eager to extend him the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I am embarassed at how the local media has soft-pedaled throughout this entire, lurid episode.

    But, instead of offering gratitute for media and public tolerance of a scandal largely of his own making, he’s still looking for a scapegoat. What do we make of this behavior?

    Since many of us are bewildered by his public comments today, could it be that this is some sort of preemptive strike on his part? I think yes. Perhaps he is laying the groundwork for dealing with future revelations. It may be that the days ahead, in the near future, will give us a better perspective regarding today’s huff-puffery. I just cannot buy into the notion that today’s public display does not have some conniving, deliberate aspect that will soon become clearer.

  • August 26, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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    On second thought, maybe Rick just wanted to take the spotlight away from John Calipari’s Memphis fallout. Give the UK coach a bit of respite from the media heat. It certainly had that effect!

    Seems like these days the UK and U of L coaches take turns in the barrel.

  • August 27, 2009 at 2:21 am
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    I just saw the news conference. Pitino has an amazing large ego and it has been shredded for the past few months. He rattled off many things becaused he is angry
    and I can understand that… However, he tries too hard to spin everything as a promotion for himself and basketball. Someone needs to get some duct tape and place it over those thin viper lips of his — quick!

  • August 27, 2009 at 5:12 am
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    It’s a shame that Rick couldn’t have consulted with the “liberal lion” Ted Kennedy before his tirade yesterday. I think Teddy would have told him three things….mirroring his own life.
    1) Patience…Teddy never reached the lofty heights of his two brothers…but worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to further his causes and beliefs. This thing will eventually get its day in court. And, no one man can dictate terms to the media.
    2) Preparation…If you are going to wade into a swamp full of alligators, you might want to take the proper precautions. Rick has prided himself on having his teams fully aware and prepared for their challenges and agendas. Yesterday was a hasty drive to the basket against a triple team. Result? The ball ended up in the stands, not the hoop.
    3) Pride…Sure, the cunning Cunagin has flaunted her wild tales in front of everyone in every venue possible except my mom’s kitchen table. Rick has the honor of his family to defend…we get it. But there are better ways to do it beside charging head first into it like my Yorkies do when they see a cat in the yard. You’re here to produce great basketball teams in the Cardinal tradition, Rick. Not to flame on the media like some irate shopper who can’t believe the store is out of bananas. Remember who you are, what your represent and quit trying to get “one up” on a looney bird.

    Paul likes to use the term “well played” when a point is successfully conveyed or rebuttle efficently delivered.

    No “well played” for you my friend. Get to work doing what you told us you planned on doing. Keeping us a top 10 program. Leave the rants for post game discussions detailing poor performances….or bashing your buddy Terry Meiners.

  • August 27, 2009 at 8:23 am
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    Can’t you just picture Billy G. riding around with his buddy, gloating about the troubles of Rick P. and John C. when . . . oops! Billy G. takes his own turn in the barrel.

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