Coach Pitino & King David

by David Lemmons

Most mornings I begin my day by shaving, etc., with the radio or the TV tuned to ESPN-2’s Mike & Mike Show.  The big headline event on Thursday morning was news from Louisville about Coach Rick Pitino’s “indiscretion” (i.e., more honestly known as “adultery”).  More info is available online: Lots of sports fans were calling in to the TV show to express their views on whether or not Coach Pitino should be fired from his highly visible coaching position.  The responses pretty much covered the gamut from, “He’s done nothing wrong,” to “Should’ve been fired yesterday.”

To give just a little background, I have always admired Rick Pitino and the body of work he has done coaching basketball.  That goes against the grain with some of my Kentucky friends because most of them cheer for UofK rather than UofL (it is one of the hottest in-state rivalries in the country).  I suppose my cheering for UofL began when my son decided to go to school there.  I actually saw Coach Pitino, live and in person, on one occasion when we were getting Aaron registered.  Pitino’s driver let him out of the Benz and he came into the same building we were entering.

The thing that disheartened me the most about this problem Coach Pitino is now trying to deal with is that it is a “case” similar to what happened with King David back in 2 Samuel 11.  Powerful King David thought he could do wrong in committing adultery, and then he could just cover it up and go on from there, none the worse for the experience.  Further, what is so sad about this aspect of the case is that it is so TYPICAL of mankind!

Before learning more, just having listened to Pitino’s apology, I was under the impression that this was something that had happened this year, but not so, it was back in 2003.  In that televised apology, he mentioned some words that he often passed on to the athletes he coached: “When you have a problem, if you tell the truth your problem becomes part of your past,” he said. “If you lie it becomes part of your future.”

That statement is a really good one.  I love that statement!  The problem is that Coach Pitino did not follow it.  Evidently, only after he was caught and publicity was about to break out about the sinful activity (seems there were attempts to bribe him over the last 7 months) did Coach Pitino come forward to admit his wrongdoing.  From the reports it seems that a child was conceived and evidently money was paid back in 2003 to pay for an abortion (whether the $3,000 was paid for health insurance or directly for the abortion is a mute point).  The COVERUP has been uncovered and the cost will likely be quite high for Coach Pitino, just as it was for King David.

Coach Pitino is not nearly as wealthy or powerful as King David was, but he certainly has a great deal of both material wealth and power.  Anyone who knows Kentucky knows the power of successful basketball coaches in that state.  I have compassion for him because of the suffering he has caused his family, friends, and associates.  I feel pretty confident that he will be able to continue his success at UofL.  I could only wish that his high profile and the resulting publicity might help others learn the lesson that King David teaches us so plainly from our Bibles.

Brethren, it simply is not wise to reach a point in our lives where we begin to believe we can deal with our sins by covering them up and continuing on our merry way.  The son of David, Solomon, wrote these words: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

We need to be thankful to have a Father in heaven who loves us and has made it possible for us to deal with our sin problem through contacting the saving blood of Jesus (John 3:16; Rev 1:5).