Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Good Knight?

One of the most polarizing and controversial figures in American sports history has apparently decided to retire. Basketball coach Bob Knight announced his resignation Monday night at Texas Tech saying that he was "tired" and didn't have the desire to coach any more. Thus ends a 40+ year career that saw Knight win 902 games, but also leave a trail of angry fans, parents and college administrators in his wake.

There's no point in going over Knight's good and bad points, but what's interesting about his leaving is almost the universal condemnation from sportwriters and broadcasters. You can read more about it from Pat Forde of ESPN, Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News, and Mike LoPresti's column in the Indianapolis Star. Instead of a pat on the back on his way out the door, Knight got spit in the eye.

If it's true you reap what you sow, then it's payback time for sportswriters all across the country. Knight hated the media, at one point calling sportwriting "two steps above prostitution," and with the exception of his few close friends in the media (such as Bob Hamel of the Bloomington Herald-Times) treated them all with contempt. Now, it's a scene reminiscent of the fall of Baghdad, except this time it's the sports media pulling down the giant statue of Knight that resides in the nation's consciousness. It reminds me of the old line about coaches getting into arguments with sportswriters: "Never argue with a guy who buys his ink by the gallon."


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