Pitino: a good lesson for all

If you’ve been on the Internet tonight, surely the Rick Pitino story has slapped you across the face and punched you in the gut.

If not, here’s the news as reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal. It’s about sex and cheating and deceit and abortion payments. It’s a great strip-across-the-front-on-1A kind of story.

It’s also a little bit sickening.

This story doesn’t mention that Pitino is married – and was married at the time of this encounter in a restaurant bathroom in 2003* – but he is. And he was. And that’s probably going to be a problem, now that Pitino has admitted to having consensual sex with the woman mentioned in the article and that he gave her $3,000 for an abortion. Not a problem for me, because, frankly, whatever happens between Pitino and his wife should stay between Pitino and his wife. But it might be a problem for his spouse of 32 years.

*The Digital Underground would be proud.

About a month ago Foxsports.com columnist Jason Whitlock wrote this article about why athletes should not get married. I didn’t disagree with it then. I agree with it a little more strongly today. The first three paragraphs from Whitlock:

I’ve never understood why a college or professional athlete would get married.

They enter into the institution of lying/marriage with as much chance of remaining sexually faithful as I do entering a Wendy’s and adhering to my diet.

Their constant travel, discretionary income, peer-pressure influence and celebrity status expose them to women eager to please, adept at sleaze and scarred by emotional, mental and physical disease.

That last graf refers perfectly to Pitino. Constant travel: he’s all over the place during the season with his basketball team and all over the place in the offseason recruiting for said basketball team. Discretionary income: Yes, he’s very rich. Peer-pressure influence: I know plenty of coaches and athletes who perhaps aren’t the most faithful guys out there. It’s not like these guys aren’t talking with each other about their road beef conquests. Maybe not peer pressure in the, “Chug, chug, chug” variety. But the atmosphere out there doesn’t discourage it. Celebrity status: He might have some competition from University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, but name another figure in the state who carries as much fame as Pitino. Mitch McConnell, you say? Ha, I say.

And with Pitino also comes this: the good looks, the charm, the expensive and tailor-made suits, the success.

Plenty of women, I’m sure, would want a piece of him. Whether he’s married or not.

This story makes me a little sad. Not for Pitino or his reputation. Not for the Louisville program and its supporters. But for his wife and five kids who now have to read this in the newspaper and on the Internet, words on a computer screen that will burn forever in their brains and online for all the world to see.

The lesson, as far as I can see it, is simple. It’s what Dan Gallagher learned and Dewey Cox learned and what Mark Sanford learned.

Sleeping with a woman who’s not your wife is never a good way to go.

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