Since Jason Whitlock's column after All Star Weekend, we have been very critical (here, here and here) of him. However, after reading his most recent column, we have found a common ground.
Now, we must preface this post by pointing out that Whitlock did include the caveat "Hey, I'm no Duke hater." But, he did write a very honest and constructively critical column about the Duke handling of the Hansbrough nose bludgeoning.
Whitlock observes "how little losing it takes to bring out the spoiled, whiny, rich (itch) in the Duke basketball program". Clearly, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Duke is an institution of privilege and entitlement. Looking down their collective nose at other universities and lower economic income levels. Snickering at people that drive economy cars or punch time clocks.
Over the years, success on the basketball court has mixed in with all the other things that folks connected with the University feel is their expectation and right. Part of the problem is that the rest of us, and the NCAA, feed this egomanical existence. Look at this year: BC was the 4th seed in the ACC tourney (and played in the semi's with the eventual champ), and a 7 seed in the NCAA. Duke garnered the 7th seed in the ACC's (and got bumped in the first round), yet somehow rested a 6 seed in the NCAA. Go figure!
And in typical Duke and Coach K snottiness, Henderson, his coach and the Blue Devils are pretending as though Henderson did nothing wrong. Coach K even slyly insinuated that Roy Williams was foolish for leaving Hansbrough on the floor that late in the game.
Hard to argue with Whitlock's word choice here: snottiness. Coach K is the very personification of snottiness. That nasal voice, the thin lipped grin. The air of infallibility every time he emits pompous or patronizing words from his cock-holster mouth. And of course the hypocrisy.
Oh the hypocrisy! Doesn't Coach K purport himself to be a teacher. A man who shows men how to be leaders and teaches responsibility? Now, many would make the argument that, no, he is just a basketball coach. But you can't have it both ways. You can't put him on a pedestal and deify him and his program as being MORE than a basketball program; and then say it's just basketball when the snottiness and duplicity of intention manifest themselves. None of us here have won a national championship, but we do know: When you do something stupid (even if it was an accident), if you are a leader, YOU take responsibility. And if you choose not to offer an apology, you don't blame the other person for crossing the street at the corner in a cross walk when you hit them with your car. That isn't leadership or responsibility. But it IS Coach K and it is Duke basketball.
Duke athletes are despised because of the holier-than-thou, do-no-wrong attitude of Coach K. He's the symbol, the tone-setter.
Preach on, Brother Jason, preach on. And that holier-than-thou attitude is based in Coach K's hypocrisy in action versus (or, as Scoop Jackson would say: verses) word. It's one thing to tell us it's raining, and piss on us. It's another to shit on us and tell us it's a mudslide. And Coach K and Dukies sure enjoy a good dump.
With that blessing comes a higher responsibility. He needs to humble himself and his players. He needs to admit when he's wrong and when his players have erred. Gerald Henderson foolishly initiated contact with a bitter rival in a game that had already been decided. He injured that player. Why not take the high road and apologize?
The devil can do no wrong. So in his mind, no apology is necessary.
By choosing the path of denial, Coach K is now drawing comparisons to his mentor Bobby Knight, another man reluctant to admit a mistake. Coach K doesn't have Knight's (public) temper. They share a self-righteousness and a terrible, immature reaction to losing. That can be a lethal combination, especially when Greg Paulus is your best point guard.
We think that Jason hits on some important points and truths.
Self-righteousness should lead to peaceful introspection. It should be exemplified by resolute, yet humble actions. And it should never waiver. There is no room for verifiable hypocrisy for the truly righteous.
We commend Whitlock for bringing to light the false righteousness exhibited by Coach K. This is further evidence, undeniable evidence, Coach K is the devil. False righteousness is the devil's means of deceiving weak souls into following him.
Be stout of heart and strong of soul. And for the first round of the NCAA tourney, be a VCU fan.