Score another point for the legions of the politically correct.
Somewhere, those who mourn the plight of lab rats are dancing in the streets.
Somewhere, the schmuck who invented “sensitivity training” is laughing softly over his merlot and brie.
And I’m sure there are those walking around this fair university who are happy an archaic and mean-spirited man with a bad temper has lost his job.
I’m not one of them.
In fact, sitting here and realizing one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history is being run out of the town he built by a snotnose kid with an agenda makes me sick to my stomach.
Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight has been called a coward and a bully by his critics. He’s guilty. For the past 29 years he has run his program like a dictator.
But he wasn’t hired to make friends. He was hired to win basketball games and make men of the children who came to play for him. Knight got his job done.
Sunday he was fired for allegedly putting his hand on IU freshman Kent Harvey while giving the student a mini-lecture on manners.
Harvey called out to the coach, saying, “Hey, what’s up Knight.” Knight then proceeded to stop the student, who is the stepson of Bloomington talk-radio host Mark Shaw, and told him adults are to be addressed by their proper titles. When a 19-year-old student addresses a coach and teacher at his university, he should call him Mr. Knight or coach.
Educating a student about etiquette while touching his arm was apparently enough to violate the zero-tolerance policy Indiana set up following several complaints regarding Knight earlier in the year.
You’ll excuse me if I don’t shed a tear for Harvey and the certain trauma he endured after greeting a man 41 years his senior like a dorm buddy. I’ll save my pity for after the civil trial.
Yes, over the years Bobby Knight has offended people. He has also won 763 basketball games, good enough for fifth all-time. He has won Olympic gold for his country. Oh, by the way, he also graduated players in record numbers.
I’m not a fan of everything the man does. But I’m reasonable enough to realize there are people like him in the world, some of them worshiped like gods.
Bob Knight coached basketball, and he coached every game in search of one thing: a perfect, mistake-free game. The single-minded commitment to excellence that made Indiana a virtual lock for 20 wins every season eventually caused his demise.
And that’s not Bob Knight’s fault.
The fault lies with every one of us who thinks being offensive is a crime. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of every person who believes the world needs training to accept people of all backgrounds, but can’t accept Bob Knight. Just who is the bully, anyway?
Players who went to Indiana, those who voluntarily signed up to accept Knight’s abuse, went for a reason. They knew they would graduate. They knew they would become better basketball players, and would play on great teams. Four years of Knight, in Bloomington, and they would be better people.
They might even have the manners to address their elders as Mr. or Mrs.
Here in Minnesota, the administration and fans sold their souls to get Clem Haskins as the head basketball coach. Clem didn’t win 20 games every year, and he never won an NCAA title. He graduated a player about as often as Jesse Ventura wears underwear.
But Haskins cut a nice figure in the papers. He acted strict toward his players, and didn’t allow them to wear earrings or sport tattoos. Clem was lauded as a throwback, taking street kids and teaching them discipline as well as basketball.
Minnesota sold out its basketball program to get a poor man’s Bob Knight, and then sent him on his way $1.5 million richer when they found out he was cheating.
Meanwhile, the real Bob Knight touched a kid on the arm and tried to pass on a little wisdom. Now he’s out of a job.
And people shake their heads when someone mourns the plight of the lab rat.