Thursday, August 13, 2009

One in a Million? So You're Saying There's a Chance

Troubling story out of Kentucky. Rick Pitino caught up in a web of sexual misconduct, lies, bribes, paid abortions, and extortion. With a resume like that you'd swear he was a politician. Close, but not quite, he's a college basketball coach.

In short, he met a woman in a bar and within hours proceeded to have intimate relations with her on a table at that same location. Weeks later he gave her money to allegedly procure an abortion. She later came back with demands for $10 million in hush money, he called the cops for extortion, she now alleges rape. It's the classic American love story.

One striking detail is present in this story. The reaction of Pitino's boss, about what he plans to do with his wayward charge:
Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich reiterated Wednesday to ESPN.com that he is "one million percent behind coach Pitino."
I recall during the Terri Schiavo ordeal blogging about a medical expert's opinion of her condition:
I am 105 percent sure she is in a vegetative state.
Which led to remembrances of George McGovern's famous words in 1972 about supporting his Vice Presidential running mate who had been revealed to have undergone electroshock therapy for nervous exhaustion and fatigue:
McGovern said the disclosure in no way affected Eagleton's status, volunteering in a comment that was to echo from then to election day that he stood behind his choice of Eagleton "1,000 per cent."
And less than a week later McGovern gave him the boot.

Granted, one million percent represents an impressive new standard for support. But, as with the previous cases, once you blow past the 100% mark, we can't really tell how certain you are.

Why isn't he two million percent behind Rick Pitino? Why not 5 billion percent? Why not 1.1 trillion percent? (Which, coincidentally, is the percentage Barack Obama is sure that his health care schemes will not increase the federal budget.)

A mere million percent behind him? A clear sign of equivocation on Louisville University's part. With that kind of wishy-washy vote of confidence, Pitino will be likely to survive the weekend.

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