Related: Politics, Religion, Social Issues

Power Plays, Morality Tales


The stories just keep coming.   Powerful men who seem to think that the rules are for everybody else but them.   Cronies who excuse the bad behavior as just something we all need to “get over” like a cold.  Guys protecting their turf, their money, heck with the fans, the flock, the family and friends.  

Two news stories this week:

Rick Pitino, long-time men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville, supposed icon of uprightness, admitted to having an affair, possibly paying the woman to have an abortion, and now exposed in his tawdry behavior because the woman wants more hush money.   As if that were not all ugly enough, now comes the president of the university to stand by his man, saying that the Pitino press conference now “closes the chapter” and we should all move on to the new season.

Guys, this is not reality TV.  This is real life.   Pitino’s contract says he can be fired for immoral behavior, but it’s not clear that that’s the same as “errors in judgment” which is the characterization of Louisville President James Ramsey.  Translated, that means that basketball counts for a whole lot more at Louisville than the moral conduct clause.

Sportswriter Christine Brennan has a great column on this mess in today’s USA Today.   Pitino now joins that elite club — Sanford, Edwards, Spitzer, Clinton, etc… it’s a pretty long list, all the men who thought they could get away with cheating.   Powerful men, out of control.

The other story that just set my hair on fire concerns the dubious “victory” claimed by some in the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese upon the fatal blockage of the Child Victims Act, a bill in the New York State Assembly to extend the statute of limitations on claims of sexual abuse of children.   Just read the story in the New York Times, click here. I’m scratching my head about that “victory.”   Where is justice?

Why would I mention Rick Pitino’s “indiscretion” and the Church’s “victory” in opposing a piece of legislation all in the same blog?    It’s all about the same thing — men with the power to hold many others accountable for moral conduct whose actions wind up undermining the very message they are supposed to proclaim.  These power plays wind up being their own cynical morality tales — do what I say, ignore what I do.

In this climate, some of us persist in trying to teach the rising generations about honor and integrity.   Not easy, but more urgent than ever.

And one more late breaking Power Play: Philadelphia Eagles Hire Michael Vick The National Football League has never met a scoundrel it couldn’t use to full economic advantage.   Money talks, and the cash registers are ringing loud in the City of Brotherly Love — while there’s a lot of pious talk about “redemption” for Vick (sort of like the “closing the chapter” homily on Pitino) the real motivation behind the NFL’s decision to allow Vick to return to the field following his conviction and imprisonment for illegal dog fighting is that his presence will surely drive televison revenues and gate receipts.    Moral of the story:  if you’re going to get into really big legal trouble, be sure you keep your throwing arm in good shape.

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: