Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitinoappeared at a press conference on Wednesday to address the reports that he had sex with a woman named Karen Sypher in 2003 and later gave her $3,000 to pay for an abortion. Pitino never directly referenced either action, choosing the always popular vague route while apologizing for an "indiscretion" to his family, friends, players, fans and employers.
Nothing that ventures too far outside of the public figure handbook for apologies there, but Pitino wasn't quite finished. While he was unwilling to discuss too much about his own indiscretion, he was more than willing to be specific about Osama Bin Laden's.
"I came here at a difficult time. When 9/11 hit, you needed a community to get you over it. In New York City, it was easy because everybody knew the devastation of that and they got each other over it. In Louisville, the impact wasn't felt like New York City, but I needed this community to help me get over it. The university officials and my friends and loved ones have helped me through this very difficult time."
There's no doubt that the attack on the World Trade Center was difficult for Pitino. His brother-in-law, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, was among the people killed that day and that's certainly not an easy thing for anyone to deal with. It's also not something that has anything to do with what happened in a Louisville restaurant in 2003 nor with the events that led to his press conference on Wednesday.
It's beyond offensive to use the memories of Billy Minardi, Pitino's brother-in-law, and the 3,000 other people who died that day as a crutch to try and make yourself look more sympathetic in the face of accusations involving infidelity and abortion.
What makes this even worse is that Pitino does this with a regularity that would make Rudy Giuliani uncomfortable. As Tommy Craggs of Deadspin points out, Pitino invoked 9/11 when reports of his involvement with Sypher first bubbled to the surface in June.
A lot of people lost something that day, and a lot of people struggled to deal with what they lost. Only the weakest and most narcissitistic use it as a way to make themselves feel better about doing something wrong.