Sometimes, I think we in the media need to decide how we want things.
We’re critical of U of L football coach Steve Kragthorpe because he doesn’t divulge enough information. Then we criticize basketball coach Rick Pitino when he does.
Let me say, I agree that the brevity of U of L sophomore Derrick Caracter’s suspension after the hoopla that surrounded its imposition just looks bad. Particularly coming after a loss in which the team clearly missed him.
But I also have the feeling now, and even did at the time, that the hoopla might have been part of the punishment.
Because the best thing for Rick Pitino in all this would’ve been to sit Caracter without comment. No announcement, no nothing. After the Purdue game, he could’ve just said, “Violation of team rules,” and moved on.
Then if Caracter returned a week later, it would’ve been no big story, and the hand-wringing would’ve been minimal.
The only reason I can see for Pitino to have held the news conference was for Caracter’s benefit, with the secondary reason that fans want answers and he usually gives them, whether you like them or not. Maybe Caracter needed to see his name and the words “indefinite suspension” on the ESPN crawler. Maybe a guy who has failed to listen to conventional messages needed a bit of a media circus to get the message delivered.
I don’t know. The problem, of course, is that everyone else then, media, fans, etc., gets taken along for the ride.
And the problem for Pitino is that every comment he made regarding Caracter then gets used against him.
Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline — perhaps one of the most skilled rhetorical surgeons of the day when he decides to cut a subject open — slices Pitino with detail that he’d never have had if Pitino hadn’t given it to him, going as far as saying that he has “zero character.”
As someone who has observed Pitino from a decent proximity for some time, that’s a ludicrous statement. In fact, it’s absurdly wrong. But this blog entry is not intended as a defense of Pitino.
Yes, this whole thing looks bad. Yes, Pitino could’ve done this in a way that looked much better, or at least was far less public. But maybe the public route was the way things had to go in order to achieve the desired result.
The bottom line is, regardless of what you think of Caracter’s handling, I’d rather have a guy give more detail than less. That’s my bias as a journalist. At least, in this case, we all have information to use to base our opinions on, rather than empty speculation.