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Rick Pitino needs to apologize

Rick Pitino owes C.L. Brown an apology. A big one.

If you haven’t heard, the University of Louisville men’s basketball coach finished off his Friday press conference with a 6-minute diatribe directed at Brown, the UofL beat reporter for The Courier-Journal. (Full disclosure: I did not attend the press conference, but watched the video from it a couple of times late Friday and early Saturday morning)

It was in regards to Brown’s article in Friday edition of the newspaper headlined “Louisville basketball’s coach Pitino: Practices not the problem.” An article, Pitino readily admits, that he did not read. In his semi-rant Pitino told Brown, “Don’t write erroneous things because you hear things,” and “you’re not telling the truth.”

This angered me for several different reasons.

1. Pitino didn’t even read the article so he doesn’t even know exactly what Brown wrote, he’s just going off what was told to him by UofL Sports Information Director Kenny Klein, and who knows if he fully understood what he was told. I’m guessing not since he seemed to think the article was a personal attack against him and his work ethic. Pitino told Brown, as well as the rest of the room: “If I ever have to take away and apologize for my work ethic, that will be the day. So you are not changing me with your nonsense you wrote in that article…”

I’ve read the article a couple of times tonight and can say from the perspective of a fellow journalist that it is fair and balanced. About the only thing I could see in it that might draw Pitino’s ire were a couple of comments that former UofL coach Denny Crum made about him to a local television station (and Brown quoted) and then the following sentence, which includes a partial quote from former Cardinal Preston Knowles.

Brown wrote: “Knowles said UofL players are never at 100 percent – ‘you’re playing at 80 percent like the whole season’ – because they practice so hard so often.”

2. I have to agree with Jason Anderson, of the local ESPN radio station, who said that Pitino’s calling out of Brown at the end of his news conference “unprofessional.” If Pitino did have a problem with what Brown wrote he should have addressed him privately, one-on-one in the hallway before, or after, the press conference.

3. The thing that angered me the most, though, was this personal and public attack against Brown. I have known C.L. for more than 10 years. We used to work together and for more than two years my desk was right across from his, and there is one thing I can tell you for sure about him – he is a consummate professional and is a very fair journalist. Pitino all but called Brown a liar (“you’re not telling the truth,” he said) in front of his peers. That would be like Brown, or any other journalist for that matter, calling Pitino a cheater in front of his fellow coaches. To top it off I can tell you that Brown is one of the nicest members of the Louisville media you’ll ever meet. I’d bet you’d have a hard time finding anyone in the Louisville media, or at UofL, with a bad word to say about Brown. The Courier-Journal is lucky to have him as a journalist and people in his area are lucky to have someone who works as hard as he does giving them information about the UofL men’s basketball and football teams.  

 

Hopefully sometime after Friday’s press conference Pitino, who could be feeling the pressure of his team having lost four of its last five games with a batch of recruits (as he mentioned) coming in this weekend, had a chance to actually sit down and read Brown’s article. If so, hopefully he realizes he was wrong in going after Brown. Hopefully he makes things right and starts off his post-game press conference after Saturday’s contest against DePaul with an apology to Brown. A big one.