Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rick Pitino and the Abortion Debate [J. Mark English]

Jon Pyle of True/Slant attempts to reconcile some of the biases out there right now among sports commentators in regard to the Rick Pitino scandal:

This morning on Mike & Mike, like thousands of sports talk shows across the country, they discussed how Pitino’s actions would effect his program, specifically recruiting. They essentially argued whether Pitino’s scandal or a coach photographed drinking and partying with coeds like Larry Eustachy would be worse for their respective programs. Mike Greenberg, supporting Pitino, was overwhelmed by the other two guests. But he made an adjustment that got to the true heart of people’s shock, he asked them to consider the situation “if there were no abortion”. Mike Golic and Eric Cassilias immediately changed their views and agreed that without the abortion, Pitino’s scandal wasn’t nearly as bad. This is where an editor for a reality show would insert the stock screeching record sound effect. The message being sent by Mike & Mike and the majority of sports radio hosts and columnists is that we can accept infidelity but abortion unquestionably makes Pitino’s situation more scandalous.

This cannot sit well with the Pro-Choice crowd, who have created a perception that abortion was an issue that only the fundamentalist fringe opposed. In my mind, the situation was always presented as being relatively even in terms of support. Apparently that is not the case, as nearly every news outlet carrying this story has highlighted the abortion as the seedy underbelly of the story. Do the majority of Americans actually oppose abortion or are sports fans more conservative? Does this controversy just frame it in the wrong context? Does anyone even realize that the subtext of the coverage of Pitino’s affair may reinforce anti-abortion sentiment or perhaps even create it?


My Thoughts -

I must take issue with Jon Pyle sentiments. This is not a debate about the validity or morality of abortion. The issue at hand is the character of Coach Rick Pitino. He is paid to be a leader of men in an educational institution. He is paid to win, but he also has a responsibility to demonstrate self discipline. (Even contract has a morality clause, which stipulates the type of behavior he must demonstrate as a leader.)

The nasty turn in this sad saga is not the affair. An affair, or even just one night of weakness is one thing. As humans we are all doomed to fail, and have moments that are shameful. But its how we handle the aftermath that determines our character.

Paying a woman to have an abortion is not something that either a person with a pro-life stance or a pro-choice stance should ever feel comfortable doing. The law of the land is choice, but not forced choice. He is making the choice for her, instead of helping her deal with the reality at hand. The emotional scars of the poor woman in this situation must be unbearable.

I cannot claim to know what goes on in the head of a person like Coach Pitino. But the facts that have come out do not show a man of tremendous character. Instead he seems to be a coward, who has put a woman in an unimaginable position of both physical and psychological horror. He has betrayed his family, his team, and the institution that has hired him.

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