I am seeing accusations fly at Kentucky fans for being skeptical of Bob Knight's apology over at ESPN, and have seen myself and other UK fans skeptical of Knight's contrition called out as homers and trying to have it both ways. Here is why have issues with coach Knight's latest pronouncement, which is as follows:
"My overall point is that 'one and dones' are not healthy for college basketball," Knight said. "I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players and I apologize."
Knight accused Kentucky's players of not going to class, and implied that Kentucky was complicit in what amounts to academic fraud. That was a serious accusation and he supplied no facts to support it, primarily because they do not exist anywhere in the world. UK called him on it, not just on behalf of the school and their coach, but on behalf of the players who did the work. Some of the players joined in to protect their reputations.
We know what really happened. Patrick Patterson graduated in only 3 years. Darius Miller is still in school. The other three "one and done" freshmen all left UK in good academic standing which was duly reported to the NCAA. These are the facts, and they are beyond contestation.
Nowhere in his remarks expressing regret did Knight address this defective and specious claim. It was slanderous and wrong, and yes, it was personal, but that was far and away the least of the violence his words did to the University of Kentucky, its coaching staff, and its current and former players.
I'm not calling for Knight's head, or for lawsuits or other excessive actions. But I'm not satisfied with this as an apology. Speaking only for myself, I do not accept it as sufficient redress for Knight's offensive and damaging remarks. What would have been acceptable? Admitting that his words were mistaken in fact and apologizing for that error, which he manifestly did not do. I am not naive enough, though, to expect an amplification, and I am not calling for it on the basis of sheer futility.
I will say that as a Kentucky fan indirectly harmed by Knights remarks, I will hope for better from the Hall of Famer in the future. I share his concern about the current collective bargaining agreement between the NBA players and the Association management, and I remain hopeful that Knight will address his understandable disdain for the "one and done" matter to the parties directly responsible (namely the NBA Players Union), rather than to schools and college coaches doing their best to field a quality basketball team and who have no control whatever over when student athletes choose to leave college for professional sports.
That is all.