Cardinal Sin, Week 4: The University of Louisville athletic board voted unanimously to fire coach Rick Pitino with cause on Monday, reports ESPN, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated.

An FBI investigation made public last month depicts corruption and bribes in several college basketball programs, including an allegation of a $100,000 payout from UofL sponsor Adidas to the family of a top recruit, believed to be Brian Bowen, in exchange for his commitment to play for Louisville.

Though the school, players or coaches were not specifically named, the university acknowledged being “university-6” in the documents, suspended Brian Bowen, believed to be “player-11,” and fired coach Pitino, believed to be “coach-2.”

Said Louisville interim president Greg Postel:

“There isn’t just a single reason. There were a number of issues that, over time, were brought to our attention. And we simply felt that this was in the best interest of the university, and make the decision at this point in time.”

In his first interview post-firing, Rick Pitino sat down with ESPN’s Jay Bilas.

You can watch the full interview here:

 

As you might imagine, there’s a lot of coverage coming out of that interview.

The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated quote Pitino, reiterating his stance he had “no knowledge” of any payments, citing his performance on a polygraph test.

“I was asked two questions. And I said, ‘I want you to ask me if any other recruits in my tenure were ever given anything.’

“And [the polygraph examiner] said, ‘That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for: Did you have any knowledge of the [Brian] Bowen family getting any money? Did you have any knowledge of an Adidas transaction?’

“I answered ‘absolutely not’ on both questions and passed the lie-detector test. So I had no knowledge of any of this.”

USA Today quotes Pitino saying the board of trustees are “not the University of Louisville.”

“To me, this board of trustees, locking me out of my office, telling me I’m dismissed before facts came out. Let it develop. They’re not the University of Louisville. They’re a board hired by the governor to deal with the president situation a while ago. They’re not the University of Louisville that I know. … The University of Louisville didn’t treat me that way. This board of trustees did – and a couple of them. I shouldn’t put them all in one lump sum.”

Quite a few outlets are going with the quote, “I’ve already been vindicated,” which might sound a little arrogant from someone who remains part of an ongoing investigation. Which is why they’re running that as the headline, I’d wager. The full quote is far less sensational:

“I’ve already been vindicated — not by a lie detector test — just by the text messages my players have sent me. The phone calls from my assistant coaches. Other people. I’ve been vindicated in my eyes.”

I’d say that’s still not quite vindication, per se, but it’s also not quite as nuts as the solo quote.

Pitino filed suit against Adidas this week, reports Bloomberg, CBS Sports and The Washington Post.

The suit alleges the athletic apparel company damaged the coach’s reputation, either deliberately or by negligence:

“Adidas knew, or recklessly avoided knowing, that Coach Pitino’s reputation for honesty and integrity would be seriously damaged by the perception — even if unfounded — that he was involved with the illegal and wrongful payment of money to recruits, or on their behalf.”

A spokesperson for Adidas told Footwear News, “Mr. Pitino’s lawsuit is clearly a reaction to his termination yesterday and is without merit.”

Sporting News, ESPN and CBS Sports report Pitino received a grand jury subpoena on Wednesday, which his attorney Steve Pence says is evidence the former coach is “not a target.”

Said Pence:

“When the FBI thinks someone is a target, they would not come in and serve them with a subpoena. They would serve them with a warrant and seize it right then. Otherwise, they would be giving them 30 days to destroy the evidence.”

On Wednesay, the university fired athletic director Tom Jurich, reports ESPN, CBS Sports and NBC Sports.

The university’s board of directors voted 10-3 in favor of termination. Jurich had been AD at the University of Louisville since 1997.

Attorneys for Jurich, Frost Brown Todd Attorneys LLC, issued a statement following the decision:

“We are disheartened by the actions taken by the University of Louisville Board of Trustees this afternoon against Athletic Director Tom Jurich. We believe that their vote to terminate his contract was done in haste with inaccurate information that should have had no bearing on continuing his employment. Tom Jurich maintained a professional athletic department that was the envy of universities across the country. He has done nothing illegal, nor violated any NCAA rules. Tom has been a great steward for the University of Louisville Athletics brand.”

Vincent Tyra will continue as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Receiver Seth Dawkins operates in traffic. | Courtesy of UofL Athletics

Grounded: Meanwhile, in other news, Your University of Louisville fighting football Cardinals are still not so good at football. Even with arguably the best player in all of college athletics. They lost to Boston College last week, 45-42. Recap at ESPN.

They play the Seminoles of Florida State tomorrow at noon, broadcast on ESPN. Athlon Sports predicts your Cardinals will win, 35-30, under the headline: “Two of the ACC’s most disappointing teams meet in Tallahassee.” So we don’t need a big win here tomorrow; we just need to be a little less of a disappointment than FSU.

Yep.

Speaking Out: Jennifer Lawrence spoke at ELLE Magazine’s “Women in Hollywood” on Monday, revealing her own “degrading and humiliating” experiences in Hollywood against the backdrop of recent allegations involving repeated and multiple cases of sexual harassment and impropriety involving movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

In her speech, she recounts being body shamed and put into a nude lineup earlier in her career, says The Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair and USA Today.

“When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by the producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks. One girl before me had already been fired for not losing enough weight fast enough, and during this time a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. We all stood side-by-side with only [tape] covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”

She then sought out another producer for help, this time a man. “He responded by telling me that he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat, he thought I was perfectly f**kable.”

“It’s so fundamental to the female experience to be mistreated and feel ashamed of it. Or worse, to be made to feel ashamed.”

Which, if you spent even a minute on social media this week, the number of “me too” posts will verify. And not just in Hollywood or entertainment, but everywhere.

I talked with my wife Megan earlier in the week. Megan gets hit on every 35 seconds on average, and some of those have been overly aggressive in the past. She said, “I just assume every woman has had some guy try to do something inappropriate at some point in time.” Like it’s the cost of doing business. And said business is simply existing, if you’re a woman.

And I have another friend who says, “Yeah, I just assume any man who approaches me is trying to sleep with me.” And she’s stunning, to be sure, but that statement was less arrogance and more her history fending off unwelcome daily advances and both micro and macro aggressions.

Another said, “It’s not normal and it’s hard, but if I had to call out every man who harassed me, that would be my full-time job. And I’d have to put in overtime.”

So Weinstein gives us someone on the extreme spectrum who’s easy to point at and condemn, but as the countless “me too” voices suggest, we need to be a lot more vigilant across the board. Not because it’s someone’s sister or daughter or whatever possessive role gets us to think about something a little bit differently. But because we just do because it’s another person. And that’s not coming from some mountain on high — it’s hopefully too obvious to be passed off as wisdom. I’m in the “we” too.

***

Earlier this week, Marvel released its new trailer for the upcoming “Black Panther” film.

Here you go and you’re welcome:

 

Man, Black Panther was absolutely one of my favorites as a kid, so this is maybe the most exciting of the big super hero smash-em ups for me and doubly exciting that it looks so good.

I mean, I know people like David Fincher say the superhero movie is dominating and degrading American cinema in a way the Western might have pre-Vietnam. And I don’t know that he’s wrong, and thus I may be a frequent contributor to the problem, not because it’s my genre of choice but because in my zest for all things cinema, I get excited for these, too.

Anyway.

That was sent to me by Will DeVary, by the way, so much thanks to him.

You can send me stuff, too. I don’t mind. You all sure had plenty to say last week, that’s for sure.

See you next week.

Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.


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