The Rick Pitino saga is one of the sickest and saddest sports-related stories I’ve ever come accross .  Here are the major details:

University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino told police that he had consensual sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher at a Louisville restaurant where he’d been drinking on Aug. 1, 2003.

He also told police that he later gave Sypher $3,000 to have an abortion, according to Louisville Metro Police reports The Courier-Journal obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

But Pitino denied Sypher’s allegations that he raped her at Porcini, after the restaurant closed, and again a few weeks later at a different location, police records show. And prosecutors who have reviewed Sypher’s claims say Pitino won’t be charged.


Pitino’s lawyer is now saying that the coach gave the woman money for “insurance,” not an abortion, though that just seems to me a way for Pitino to assuage his conscience.

As horrible as this story is, I can’t help but see one tiny sliver of hope. I listen to a lot of sports talk radio and read various sports-related blogs, and the moral revulsion at what Pitino has done runs very deep. Now some of this is probably related just to the extra-marital affair, and others are pointing out the “hypocrisy” (Pitino is a Roman Catholic, and at one point met with Pope John Paul II). But there is clearly an undercurrent of disgust that Pitino apparently paid for  an abortion. These are not Catholic or politically conservative blogs and talk shows I’m talking about. Clearly, there is still some kind of social stigma attached to abortion that extends beyond the pro-life community.

We see this with the people who go out of their way to describe themselves as pro-choice, not pro-abortion.  And while I certainly have scoffed at those who so proudly declare themselves to be “personally opposed, but,” it’s not entirely a bad thing that even the pro-choicers want to wash their hands of the moral evil that is abortion.

About half the people in this country believe that abortion is absolutely wrong and should be prohibited.  Among the other half of the country, a large percentage have at least a subconscious revulsion towards abortion.  My feeling may be misplaced, but that gives me just the slightest bit of hope.

Articles by Paul Zummo

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