Former Indiana hoops coach Bob Knight infamously once told Connie Chung in an interview that he knew was going to air on network TV, ““I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, yesterday current Ohio State football coach Ryan Day dismissed two players, defensive backs Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint, who have been charged with rape.
That was swift.
Loyal reader and delinquent donor Susie B. asked what I thought about last Saturday’s Hoosier homecoming for Knight, age 79, at Assembly Hall. He hadn’t been back to a game in Bloomington in 20 years, since he’d been fired for putting his hands on a student (players, fine; students, uh uh, apparently).
Mixed feelings. People forget that Knight was every bit the institution on his campus and throughout college hoops from the mid-Seventies on that his former pupil, Coach K., has been at Duke. The dude won three national titles in an 11-year span when before that John Wooden had owned college hoops.
Knight was an institution at an institution. He was also, unadulterated and unapologetically, a bully. Now, I’ve known people who’ve told me that Knight has done wonderful, altruistic things for them with no fanfare and without wanting any thank you’s. He can be very generous if he sees the right work ethic and ambition and yes, decency, in a person. He’s also incredibly stubborn and he seems to enjoy belittling people.
A total mixed bag. Deep down, I’m glad for him that he had his moment of, as the great Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel called it, “catharsis.” He’s always going to be who he is. For a long time, he was great for college hoops and even better for Indiana. The fans got to say thank you last Saturday.