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Bobby Knight Swings at John Calipari and Knocks Himself Out

All the buzz this morning is about Bobby Knight's attack on the integrity of Kentucky coach John Calipari last night in Indianapolis during a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of fame.  The line goes like this:

"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," he said. "You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that."

Yeah, I know -- this is proof of the old saying that "There is nothing new under the sun."  I have taken down reporter after blogger after radio station manager for making similar comments, but after a while, you begin to get immune to this flagrant abuse of logic.  As Gregg Doyel suggested in his piece that I linked yesterday, this opinion represents simple groupthink, and since Knight now finds himself a member of the media as an analyst for ESPN, is it really all that surprising that he should hold this opinion?

It's tempting to repeat old tales of Bob Knight's reprehensible behavior while coach at Indiana and elsewhere, but I'm not going to.  I actually like Bob Knight, despite the fact that some of his utterances are of the quality that one must usually obtain from the likes of Britney Spears or Courtney Love.  You have to take the moronic and the bad with the the good when it comes to The General.

Rush the Court this morning has by far the best take on this whole confab.  I am just going to quote a small part, but you really should read the whole thing:

You’ll often hear really smart people (unlike your author here) state this as "correlation doesn’t imply causation."  We don’t know if Calipari is guilty or innocent.  But if the NCAA didn’t have evidence to say Calipari was guilty of all this wrongdoing of which he’s often accused, and we all agree that the NCAA is the governing body which has the final say, then we have to presume his innocence.  So where is Knight’s basis in making his accusation that Calipari put two schools on probation?  Most likely…nowhere.

Self-deprecation aside, this is exactly right.  Of course, in order to hold such an opinion, you must reject the media groupthink regarding Calipari and, you know, engage in actual independent thought and analysis, something that has never been dear brother Bob's long suit -- he's much to fond of emoting.

Follow me past the jump for more fun and games.

Reid Cherner at the USA Today Sports blog wonders if Knight is really the right messenger, even if what he says is actually true:

But there are others who feel that Knight cheap-shoted Calipari and that the problems at Memphis and Massachusetts should not all be laid at his door.

And then there is the question of whether Knight is the right messenger.

Not everyone thinks he was always the white knight when he was getting paid to lead young men. There were too many temper tantrums, one too many incidents in Puerto Rico, and for some, a little too much hands on coaching.

So is Knight the perfect spokesman for the game or a guy who should keep his opinions to himself?

Well, Knight is welcome to speak his opinion, even about Calipari, but he should be willing to defend it, which he apparently wasn't.  It's one thing to opine that somebody is bad or unethical or wrong, but just to make that statement in isolation without taking questions or offering any defense of it makes it a cheap shot, whether it's true or false.

I also want to point out that Knight made some very good points that have been lost in the furor over his unprovoked attack on Coach Cal, which Inside the Hall mentions:

If what Knight hypothesizes about a kid only taking six hours first semester and never going to class second semester is true, and I’m sure it is, perhaps the NCAA is due for some soul searching to define the true meaning of ’student-athlete.’

Indeed, and that should concern us all.  If John Wall were to fail to attend class in his second semester this year, I would be outraged and call Coach Cal to account -- not so much because of Wall's theoretical behavior, but because it is the duty of coaches to make sure that the students under his charge are committed to uphold their end of the scholarship agreement, which is not just to show up on the basketball court.

I am confident that would never happen with Wall.  He seems to get that even if this is just an arbitrary waypoint on the way to millions of NBA dollars, the rules apply to him just like everyone else.  That's one of the things I have come to admire about the young man so far, and we will never hear about it if he does wind up leaving UK in good academic standing with a high GPA -- we'll only hear about it if he does not.

In the end, this is another of those "Embrace the hate and overlook the ignorance" moments that I have failed to ignore. 

Oh, well, what good is being a blogger if you can't write snarky posts about guys like Bob Knight?