Sometimes, It’s Okay To Stay in Sports

Don't change topics.

This is the greatest sport ever. Do not ever change topics, Seth Davis. Ever.

In a recent article for his his Sports Illustrated column “Hoop Thoughts,” Seth Davis wrote:

Look, I am not here to defend Pitino’s behavior. Over the last 16 months, he was revealed to be to be a lot of things — a fool, a cad, a liar, an adulterer and an egotist. In other words, a sinner.

For those of you who don’t follow college basketball, let me fill you in: Rick Pitino is the coach everyone loves to hate (Hoya Saxa). Recently, his “mistress,” or whatever the hell she was, was charged with extortion because she tried to get money out of him. It is unclear whether or not she was extorting him for sleeping with her consensually or because he raped her. The woman, Karen Cunagin Sypher, has now been convicted of extortion. She is the now the criminal.

Let me share with you a few snippets of why Pitino is the “real victim” here, and he did not commit a crime, according to Seth Davis:

She says Pitino raped her twice, yet she waited six years to confront him about it.

Although the alleged assaults occurred in April 2003, Sypher didn’t file a criminal complaint against Pitino until November 2009, three months after he revealed her alleged extortion attempts to the police and the media, and three months after she was indicted.

She claimed Pitino raped her, yet she met him a few weeks later at the apartment of his equipment manager, Tim Sypher. Pitino gave her $3,000. (The coach says it was for medical insurance, but Sypher used it for an abortion.) Then, she alleges, he raped her a second time while Tim stayed upstairs and did nothing to help her.

She says Pitino raped her twice and that Tim did nothing to help the second time. Yet, eight months later she married Tim Sypher in Nantucket, Mass.

She claimed Pitino raped her that fateful night at Porcini restaurant in Louisville in August 2003. Yet, she allowed him to drive her home later that night. (Pitino denied ever raping Sypher and authorities found no merit to the charges.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I changed the order of the bullets for more shock value. But these are all things Davis says. Check out the article to confirm, if you’d like.

Let’s go through each reason Rick Pitino is a “victim,” one at a time, and calmly (HA) explain to Seth Davis why he should only be writing about basketball – and not about moral integrity, the law, or rape.

She says Pitino raped her twice, yet she waited six years to confront him about it.

Well then, Pitino MUST be innocent. Everyone who is a victim of a crime goes to the police immediately. Oh my god, how many times must we go through this? Not reporting a crime does not mean a crime didn’t happen. Especially when we discuss rape and sexual assault or abuse, we need to remember that we have a habit of blaming victims for their circumstances – she shouldn’t have been wearing that short skirts, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten raped if she hadn’t worked late, etc. I don’t know whether Rick Pitino raped this woman (he denies it, obviously). But this argument? The one where she waited a while to talk about it? Doesn’t hold up. Sorry, Seth.

Although the alleged assaults occurred in April 2003, Sypher didn’t file a criminal complaint against Pitino until November 2009, three months after he revealed her alleged extortion attempts to the police and the media, and three months after she was indicted.

Yes, Rick Pitino is a victim of extortion. But this doesn’t exactly prove his legal innocence.

She claimed Pitino raped her, yet she met him a few weeks later at the apartment of his equipment manager, Tim Sypher. Pitino gave her $3,000. (The coach says it was for medical insurance, but Sypher used it for an abortion.) Then, she alleges, he raped her a second time while Tim stayed upstairs and did nothing to help her.

I don’t at all understand why this proves Pitino’s legal innocence. Yeah, she saw him again. Because she was getting money from him – maybe after he raped her. It’s not that absurd of a suggestion. Given that she was meeting him at someone else’s apartment, she probably felt safer. This Tim Sypher was probably someone she trusted. If Sypher were raped, this might appear to be a reasonable course of action.

She says Pitino raped her twice and that Tim did nothing to help the second time. Yet, eight months later she married Tim Sypher in Nantucket, Mass.

Sypher took six years to accuse Pitino of rape. If she was, in fact, raped, it sounds like she’s not just a victim of Rick Pitino: it sounds like she’s a victim of society’s obsession with victim-blaming. She couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone about it until six years later, and obviously, she couldn’t bring herself to blame Syper for not doing anything to help her. This is such standard self-blaming behavior that occurs in verbally and physically abusive relationships (I’ve seen it happen to close friends; this shit isn’t all that rare).

And finally, the crown jewel of Seth Davis being a jackass:

She claimed Pitino raped her that fateful night at Porcini restaurant in Louisville in August 2003. Yet, she allowed him to drive her home later that night. (Pitino denied ever raping Sypher and authorities found no merit to the charges.)

In Clueless, when Alicia Silverstone’s character actually has the guts to get out of the car after the friend driving her home won’t stop kissing her after she tells him to, she gets mugged. Even pop culture has this figured out: there was no safe way to get out of the situation. She was either stuck with a situation that was clearly harassment and verging on assault, or she was going to get stuck in a place she didn’t know with other people who wanted to harm her and no way to get home. I don’t want to compare a real-life situation to a generally vapid movie, but since I appear to be good at those kind of metaphors, I’m going to do it anyway: what the fuck was Sypher supposed to do? I don’t know the details of the situation (and I doubt Davis does, either), but I wonder what kind of options this woman had. If she were raped, she’d still need to get away from the restaurant. And if she’s anything like what she sounds like from Davis’ lovely profile, she was probably blaming herself for the incident and wondering what she “should have” done differently.

And really, this sentence is just a fucking gem:

Pitino denied ever raping Sypher and authorities found no merit to the charges.

Um, of COURSE he denied it, and of COURSE authorities found no merit to the charges. It was SIX YEARS LATER, for god’s sake. It’s not like she had hard evidence other than her word.

Pitino is a victim of extortion. Sypher could be a victim of rape. If Seth Davis and I know the same details about the case, I’m not exactly feeling badly for Rick Pitino.

When Louisville visits the Verizon Center, I’m not going to specifically heckle Pitino. He hasn’t been convicted of a crime (although if douchebaggery were one, he’d be the first to get locked up). But if someone brings up what a “victim” he is because he was “forced to reveal his indiscretions to his family” (in when indiscretion = marital infidelity in a monogamous relationship – boo fucking hoo), I’m going to get pissed. If someone brings up that he’s a victim because he was accused of a rape but his actions obviously “weren’t criminal,” I’m going to be even angrier. Pitino got away from any suggestion of rape so fucking quickly because of the victim-blaming society we’ve created. The situation is not as easy, obvious, or black-and-white as Seth Davis would have us believe it is.

Please stick to basketball, Seth. It will make it so much easier on us all.

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