Jay Mariotti and Gregg Doyel have a fair amount in common. They both work for national online publications, both are always opinionated, and people across the country seem to love to hate them. When it comes to the subject of Rick Pitino and his recent indiscretions, however, they differ greatly.
Mariotti believe that Pitino has no choice but to resign. He argues (and Christine Brennan of USA Today makes the same point) that Pitino can no longer recruit effectively because he had a sexual affair with a woman in a restaurant, got her pregnant, and paid for her abortion. Mariotti poses fictional questions from a fictional recruit’s mother:
How can you take care of my son when you, Rick Pitino, acknowledged having sex with a woman at a table inside an Italian restaurant after closing time? And how can I respect your morals, Rick Pitino, when a married father of five and a devout Roman Catholic discreetly pays the woman $3,000 because she needed, uh, health insurance to cover an abortion? And why would I send Jimmy to Louisville, Rick Pitino, when you could be fired for cause at any time if the university decides you've violated a contracted morality clause for acts of dishonesty, "moral depravity" or "willful conduct that could objectively be determined to bring public dispute or scandal" during your tenure?Mariotti continues to argue that Pitino’s sins are too great for him to continue at his job, but in reality, it's the abortion in this story that makes Mariotti believe Pitino should be forced to resign.
In the end, Pitino's adultery may be forgiven. But the presence of abortion in this wild story -- even if Pitino says the $3,000 was specifically for health insurance, which sounds like semantics to me -- will gain him no mercy in the Catholic community.Greg Doyel on the other hand, couldn’t disagree more. Doyel believes that there is no reason for Pitino to lose his job over this.
[Y]ou don't get fired for having an affair with a grown woman. Maybe you do in some places, places where they stone people guilty of infidelity, but not here. Nor do you get fired for impregnating her, or even for giving her $3,000. Depending on whom you believe, the money was for insurance or an abortion. You don't get fired for it, whatever it was.Doyel goes further:
If we're going to fire people for having an affair, the unemployment rate in this country would shoot to roughly 50 percent. The abortion, however objectionable you find it, is irrelevant here. It's legal, and it doesn't matter if Pitino paid for it. That, too, is legal. Pitino's Roman Catholicism, and the hypocrisy of traveling with a priest while paying for a mistress's abortion, is an issue between Pitino and God. But God isn't the president at Louisville.In a sentence I didn’t know if I’d ever be writing, I completely agree with Gregg Doyel here. Yes, Pitino is a noted follower of the Catholic Church, but what is important to remember here is that Louisville is not a Catholic organization, nor is the NCAA. What Pitino did was wrong, but if Pitino can live with his mistakes and the steps he took outside of the Catholic faith, there is no reason he should lose his job. What Pitino did in his personal life could either be a mistake or it could make him a bad person, but it doesn’t make him bad at his job. Pitino should continue to coach Louisville, and if, as Mariotti believes, it will irreparably damage his ability to recruit, Pitino will lose his job soon enough for the right reasons.