First, let’s get this out of the way and link right to the article I’m talking about. In fact, I’m gonna link to two different articles. First there’s one from MSN about Knight saying he doesn’t respect Wooden. The second is from the Washington Post and is much more of an opinion piece based off of Knight’s comments. For those that aren’t going to read the article I’ll give you a quick rundown of what it says.
Basically, you really should read both articles, Bobby Knight says that he liked John Wooden fine as a man but didn’t respect him elsewhere. This is all related to the alleged misdeeds of boosters at UCLA while Wooden was the coach. I have no idea how true all these allegations are but it has always been an open secret that Wooden had some help with recruiting, and in fact UCLA got in trouble not long after Wooden left. The allegations didn’t occur while he was the coach according to the NCAA and we all know they are a paragon of virtue in college athletics. I’ll give you my opinion in a minute but just take a look at how the Washington Post article starts off:
Over the course of his college basketball coaching career, Bob Knight was either accused of or seen punching and choking his own sports information director, smacking opposing coaches during a game, striking a police officer in Puerto Rico, throwing a chair onto the court during a game, making cretinous comments about rape and choking one of his players.
But hey, at least he ran clean programs, unlike that lowlife John Wooden.
Well, guess what Bob, I’m not a fan of you. In fact I think you’re a despicable human being. You may have won some basketball games, not as many as John Wooden I might add, but that doesn’t make you worthy of my respect. As I’m sure you have told people numerous times in your life, respect is earned. You’ve not earned mine. Even if you don’t believe respect is earned and should be granted to all, as I believe, Bob has certainly lost mine with his embarrassing conduct.
How would you feel if Matt Painter struck a cop in Puerto Rico? What about if he threw a chair and was ejected from a game? What about the numerous violations of racism towards his black players? What about if he had been accused multiple times of violence against players, other coaches, or colleagues at the university? Would that be someone you would respect? Would that be someone you would want your son to go play basketball for? I think not.
Let me illustrate this with a brief story. Remember when a college freshman called Bob by simply “Knight” and the disgraced coach grabbed him by the arm and cursed at him. Knight then denied acting inappropriately. Let’s contrast that with Gene Keady shall we? When I was younger I loved heading up to Purdue for basketball or football games. I can’t remember the exact age I was but it was somewhere around 10 (maybe?) and we were at Purdue for a sporting event. I saw Coach Keady walking around Mackey and I was so excited I shouted out “Hey Gene!” and waved like a madman. Coach Keady swiveled his head, found me, unleashed a gigantic smile and threw his arm up in a wave. That was it, we both went our separate ways with my parents being mortified and me being thrilled. There was no accosting necessary.
So, what do I think of Bob Knight giving his opinion on a man like John Wooden? I think Bobby shouldn’t give his opinion on people’s character and how they coached. He lost that right when he committed any number of the acts above and when he got fired for “uncivil, defiant, and unacceptable” behavior that included verbally abusing a high-ranking female university official and “gross insubordination.”
You might even say that I’m sick and f&%^ing tired of hearing about Bob Knight and what he thinks is good or bad character.