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End the Knightmare
Rick Reilly
May 01, 2000
If any of you in the state of Indiana had a spoonful of guts, you'd walk up to Bob Knight, pull that stupid red sweater over his face and punch him flush in the nose. That's what you should do with a bully like him—slug him right in the proboscis for the way he's embarrassed your school, your athletes, your state.
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May 01, 2000

End The Knightmare

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If any of you in the state of Indiana had a spoonful of guts, you'd walk up to Bob Knight, pull that stupid red sweater over his face and punch him flush in the nose. That's what you should do with a bully like him—slug him right in the proboscis for the way he's embarrassed your school, your athletes, your state.

But you all hide from him like mice. Shame on you for that. Shame on you for letting a thug run your university. Shame on your university's president and trustees for the sniveling, shivering way they're about to let Knight out of the noose again.

That's how this is going to go down, and you know it. The university's investigators have 90 days to report on this latest truckload of evidence that Knight is a leg-chewing madman. Ninety days? It's five seconds of videotape! Knight chokes the kid! Film at 11! It ain't Agatha Christie!

So why 90 days? Because 90 days ices it nicely. Ninety days means mid-June, when the students have gone home and the professors are in Florence and the NBA Finals are hot. That's when your whimpering little two-man investigation committee will clear its throat and mutter that Knight has been "reprimanded" and a letter "added to his file." The trustees will have to buy another cabinet, but it'll be added to his file.

You Hoosiers wear red, but you run yellow. At your school Knight is Liberty Valance. At your school, Knight can throw university president Myles Brand out of practice and not hear a peep about it. (Knight and Brand deny it, but two players say they saw it.) At your school Knight can shout down the athletic director—his boss—in a hallway and not sweat a drop. He can turn press conferences blue, yank his team off the floor in an exhibition game against the Soviet Union, act like the Psychology Today centerfold he is, and all anybody at Indiana does is smile and duck chairs.

Of course, Knight should be fired. For what he's done over the years, Knight should be treading pink slips by now. Golf analyst Ben Wright says women's breasts hamper their swing and "lesbians in the sport hurt women's golf," and he's gone. Knight says, "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it," and keeps his job.

Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, Frank Kush and other coaches thump players, and they're all let go. Knight grabs Neil Reed by the throat, head-butts Sherron Wilkerson, chews out cheerleaders, humiliates Big Ten commissioner Wayne Duke and keeps his job. Indiana, you must be so proud.

Why do you keep buying season tickets? Why do you keep mailing in donations? Why do you keep sending your sons to play for a man who so obviously hates himself, his job and his school? When is the last time you saw him smile? When is the last time you saw him coach with joy? Why not put the poor guy out of his misery?

Not only that, but if I were Indiana's president and I had a coach who made more first-round NCAA disappearances than Florida A&M, kept getting his gluteus handed to him by the human comb-over and hardly bothers to recruit anymore, I'd be wearing a lampshade and throwing confetti right now! You mean I can finally fire this idiot? Is it my birthday?

But you Hoosiers would no sooner ax Knight than the Munchkins would the Wizard. Yeah, you'll talk about how Knight graduates his players. (So does Joe Paterno. Haven't seen him separate anybody's brain from his air supply lately.) How Knight raises money for his school. (So does Mike Krzyzewski. Haven't seen him play show-and-tell with his feces lately.) How his players become good, honest citizens. (Yeah, except those who wind up trying to cover his ass.)

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