Shame is a choice

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Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has made a cottage industry out of righting self-help success books. His first one was called, “Success Is a Choice: Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life.”

Maybe he should make the title of his next book, “Shame is a choice.”

Pitino’s choice to have sex in a restaurant with a woman six years ago — and then pay for an abortion — has certainly brought shame to his family and Louisville basketball.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal (story link here), Pitino told police he had sex in a restaurant six years ago with Karen Sypher, the woman now accused of trying to extort millions of dollars from him. When she told him two weeks later she was pregnant, he gave her $3,000 for an abortion, the report states.

Sypher claimed Pitino raped her and made those allegations just last month to police, but prosecutors said the complaint lacked supporting evidence. Sypher, 49, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of lying to the FBI and trying to extort $10 million from Pitino, who is married with five children.

By all rights, if Louisville was a legitimate higher education institution trusted to the development of young men and women, they would fire Pitino for this embarrassment. How can they ask responsibility from their students when their highest paid employee — and the face of the school — drags it through the mud with such a sordid affair?

Pitino should bow out and go to the NBA, where there were reports earlier this year he was considering the Sacramento job. Those coaching jobs don’t carry the same image responsibilities that a college job should. Or maybe I am just being naive to think that the lessons of responsibility are more important in a college than the lessons of basketball. That is certain up for debate in a state like Kentucky.

Okay, maybe I am being very naive. That doesn’t mean I’m not right.

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Listen to “The Sports Fix” co-hosted by myself and Kevin Sheehan noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN 980 AM Washington and espn980.com

For more information about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com

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