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Aquarian Weekly 9/27/00 REALITY CHECK


Nothing is worse than authority, except, of course, abusive authority, or abusive, teacher/coach, dickweed authority. And no one over the past quarter century has cornered the market on that then Bobby Knight, who used his abused players to win a ton of basketball games and three National Championships for him. Now his employer over the length of this unprecedented reign of atavistic terror, Indiana University, has finally seen fit to fire his sorry ass.

As laughable as that may sound, a university allowing a man to physically and emotionally wreak havoc on officials, NCAA employees, players, students, faculty and the media, while lauding him as a font of society, it is all sadly true. Even in sacking him, members of the board could not bring themselves to revisit the details of Knight’s latest grabbing and berating of a student for not referring to him as “Mr. Knight.” Instead they watered down this predictable ugliness by pointing out in excruciatingly long and tiresome fashion that he didn’t respect fundraisers, the board of trustees or professors. These infractions were, of course, all fine and dandy when the man was winning, but he hasn’t been doing much of that lately, with early exits in the national tournament.

The truth is Knight should have been bounced the second these overpaid pedantic jokers saw video of this cretin choking a player on May 15. That wasn’t enough. They needed a four-month review of his chair-throwing, head-butting, expletive-laced tirades, many on video and well documented, for over two decades. Then they took the onus off themselves and put it on this nut by imposing on him impossible guidelines under the heading of a “no-tolerance policy.” They were still working on the parameters of this mess when Knight accosted the kid.

Before the hammer came down, Knight pathetically performed an impromptu discussion session with reporters, complete with visuals and reenactments, in order to deflect what he surely knew would be his swansong. Throughout, he used the same smug tone that turned every other one of his boorish acts of savage lunacy into something akin to the late Mother Teresa coddling the starving children of Calcutta. His cushy place in denial-land continued during a live interview on ESPN days after the firing when he seriously wondered why no one explained what “zero-tolerance” meant.

To say the very least, university president, Myles Brand dropped the ball on this one. For years he, and the legacy of cash-bloated basketball pimps at Indiana, chose to look the other way as Knight piled up an embarrassing litany of belligerent violence wrapped up nicely under the guise of discipline and leadership. Turns out their fat coach/god was having trouble disciplining himself.

Indiana University’s hypocrisy notwithstanding, Bobby Knight is everything wrong with the always-prevalent jock mentality in sports. Everyone reading this, especially us rough and tumble male types who played any sport, can remember having some sick oaf screaming or ranting at them. This used to pass for hard-edged teaching in an age of stupidity that had the expression of any emotion beyond anger as sissy, fag stuff to be ridiculed and suppressed. Bobby Knight is its product, a small, but annoying mutation spanning centuries of macho bloodletting.

Knight started this psycho garbage at the home office for berating, West Point. This agenda is all fun and frolic in the secret society of the U.S. Army because these victims of mental anguish reside outside the structure of American culture. This is the reason that when one of them is released from their duty they are once again considered civilians. Civility has no place in the training of men to rip, roar and kill, but playing a sport at a major college for millions of dollars a year pumped into a voracious system is another story.

The saddest part of the Bob Knight story, and its endless parade of fiascos dancing along side it, is that he survived every incident with the respect reserved for conquering heroes. Didn’t we call him “the general” with a smirk, waiting impatiently for that moment when his head would explode in a vein-popping crimson globe during every game? How we chuckled at his constant derision of officials. After all, we would like to be the ones nearly strangling the dumb fucks for not calling a foul on that last play. We need to win these games so much we turn into maniacs at the sight of a human mistake. Somehow Knight’s blow-ups became an extension of our own tired act.

So now the crazies on the Indiana campus scream and yell for Brand’s head on a platter and burn likenesses of Knight’s latest victim in effigy. They threaten to kill and pillage for their hero. They love their basketball and their icons and paint Knight as a martyr for the glory of the game.

Many of Knight’s defenders cite his clean NCAA record. He never broke any recruiting rules and made sure his players went to class and at least attempted to graduate. But that is the same logic that has abusive fathers and husbands passing muster because they pay the bills and tuck the kids into bed.

Bobby Knight has many psychological problems. These problems have been excused by being defining as old-fashioned values and stringent methods. You know, back in the day when screaming, belittling, choking and pushing was a sign of love and authority.

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