Commentary

Rick Pitino deserves a second chance

Updated: August 2, 2010, 12:36 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Rick PitinoJim O'Connor/US PresswireRick Pitino has faced the music, told the truth, and moved on.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has made headlines recently and, unfortunately, they don't involve wins and losses on the hardwood. Instead, Pitino is a subject of controversy in the trial of Karen Sypher.

There has been speculation over his coaching future and various media outlets have posted polls for fans to express their views.

Before you state your opinion on such matters, remember that Pitino is not on trial. The coach has been held accountable for his mistake and he has admitted his error in judgment. It is Sypher who has been charged with extortion.

Make no mistake -- what he did was wrong. A married man obviously had no right to carry on the way he did around midnight at that restaurant in 2003. But I thought we lived in America, a place where people could get a second chance to redeem themselves. Pitino has stood tall, saying how he embarrassed his family and humiliated himself. What more can he do?

My friends, strength comes from making a change. Pitino will be better than ever as he has a sense of pride. Trust me, he regrets what has happened, and what his family has gone through. He has learned from his indiscretion and should be allowed to move beyond it. We have all made mistakes in our lives.

In the long run, Louisville basketball will also be better than ever once he and the program move forward. The Cardinals have a solid future with a new arena, a good recruiting class and an exceptional fan base that should be supportive of this potential Hall of Famer.

The Louisville coach has a heart of gold and is as charitable as they come. This situation will not be easy, and the media will be tough. Walking into opposing buildings will be challenging: He'll likely face hostile environments where fans will say nasty things. But everyone needs to look in the mirror and understand that people don't always do everything right. Pitino has faced the music, told the truth and tried to move on.

Louisville basketball should keep Rick Pitino as its leader and enjoy the bright future ahead.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.