By Colin Dunlap

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Rick Pitino?

Of all people? Rick bleeping Pitino.

Rick Pitino might be the least self-aware human to roam the planet. And I’m not just talking about in the present, I’m talking about in the history of this fine planet.

By now you probably know the story of Pitt basketball coach Kevin Stallings — who has had a rough go at things — and what he said both on the floor during and in the aftermath of a pretty predictable loss at Louisville the other night. Stallings was involved in a bit of a back and forth with some fans near the Pitt bench, wherein thing devolved into the coach eventually bellowing to them, “at least we didn’t pay our guys $100,000” and “we didn’t pay our guys 100 grand, though…”

Should Stallings have engaged the fans? That’s up for debate. I’m kind of OK with it, to be honest. Sometimes — and this is one of those rare instances — you don’t need to walk away.

What isn’t up for debate, however, is that Stallings was alluding to the Louisville pay-for-play scandal which saw Pitino eventually fired along with two assistant coaches and athletics director Tom Jurich. The player at the center of the whole thing, Brian Bowen, was suspended.

After the game, Stallings doubled-down on things, insisting what he said was the right decision and validating (in his mind) the words.

“Somebody said something bad about my players,” the coach said. “I’m just going to stick up for my players. Probably said the wrong thing, but I’m not going to let people talk crap about my players … you don’t need to insult kids who are out there trying to fight hard and do their best. So like I said, I probably should have chosen some different words, but I’m not going to let people take shots at our players.”

That’s commendable from where I sit; a coach showing his guys that he won’t allow them to be disrespected.

Oh, but now we have Rick Pitino. High and mighty and someone-forgot-to-mention-to-him-that-he-is-disgraced Rick Pitino. You see, Rick Pitino (again, the least self-aware human to ever rove this planet) has a problem with Stallings stating, well, the truth.

On Wednesday, Pitino sent a text to Louisville media member John Ramsey saying that he felt Stallings was a “jackass” and appealed to the reporter that it was perfectly OK to quote him as such.

I’ll just put this bluntly: Who is Rick Pitino to call anyone a jackass? Really? Does he have the shortest memory in world history?

Didn’t Mr. Pitino sort of lose the right to call anyone (particularly an employed NCAA Division I coach) a jackass when he got canned after the federal prosecutors started poking around?

More to the point — and speaking of poking around — didn’t Mr. Pitino sort of lose the right to call another man a jackass after his highly-publicized, extramarital sexual tryst (which he admitted to) with the wife of a former Louisville equipment manager inside an Italian restaurant in 2003? I think that disqualified Pitino from name-calling forever. But, hey, that’s just me.

So think what you want of what Kevin Stallings said at Louisville the other night. That’s all fine and dandy. Heck, I don’t agree with it, but you can even think he’s a jackass for what he said if you want to think that way.

Know who can’t say that, though? Rick Pitino.

Know why? Because there is no one who has acted more like a jackass than him.


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