— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) February 18, 2014
Rick Pitino hates social media! The first thing I thought when I saw this damming graphic show up in my timeline this morning was, “That’s a blog post!” (Let me guess, when Rick Pitino was growing up, he had to walk uphill in the snow both ways just to tell his friends that it was snowing.) Silly old hater! So I started writing this blog post. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking for the original video of the quote because a site had the quote different from the one in the image above. Turns out that this Pitino quote doesn’t actually exist in that exact format and it was taken out of context of a longer conversation at a press conference about segregation and racist idiots harassing players anonymously on social media. Welp.
The conversation starts around the 6:29 mark of this video with a question about whether or not Pitino encountered segregation in his younger years. Pitino, who grew up in New York City, explained that he went to an integrated school, played basketball with African Americans from the time he started playing, and didn’t hear talk of segregation until he got to Kentucky, where he was the first head coach to start an all-black team. Another reporter then asked Pitino about a conversation with Louisville guard Russ Smith about facing racism on social media. In response to THAT, Pitino had this to say:
“I think anybody who reads social media who’s in sports is not all there. I’m being very serious.”
Pitino then called it a form of cowardice and attempted to quote Colin Cowherd before deciding against trying to paraphrase. He went on:
“To me, I think it’s the great class of underachievers who live on the Internet and social media. I think it’s people that just waste their time, and underachieve because of it. Because they’re not paying attention to what they should be achieving to. So it’s a waste of time. I don’t know why people do it. So Russ is wasting his time. And he does waste his time. And so does Chris Jones. They waste their time when they could be spent reading valuable things. So I think it’s not that I’m against certain facets of social media, because I’m not, but what you’re talking about – what Russ Smith is doing – is a total waste of energy… time. It’s insulting, uh, intellectually, to be on it.”
The reporter then helped make Pitino’s point by bringing up that social media opens players up to situations where players will experience racial abuse. Turns out Pitino doesn’t dislike social media, he just doesn’t think players should use it because it subjects them to some of the idiots who use it.
So why would you do that? Why not go in a smoke-filled room and just inhale all of that if you’re healthy? That’s what you’re doing, aren’t you? What would you get out of it? It’s insulting to one’s intellect to read that stuff. So why would Russ do that?
So in this case, Pitino is 100% correct – and that is why it is no fun to go back and look for context when an old person seemingly insults everyone on the Internet. This post probably – hopefully! – gets a quarter of the pageviews it would have recieved if the headline said:
Rick Pitino Thinks Anyone Who Reads Social Media “Is Not All There”
Rick Pitino Called People Who Live Online “the great class of underachievers”
Rick Pitino Hates Social Media
The headline of the post I originally started had a 99% chance of being one of the three above. Unless we decided there was a more inflammatory and click-worthy collection of words that may or may not have come out of Pitino’s mouth. And how many people would have actually clicked enough links to find out that Pitino was specifically talking about players dealing with anonymous, racist idiots on the Internet? A lot less than looked at Pitino photobombing someone at a Justin Timberlake concert or the gif of him swearing at a referee during March Madness, I can tell you that.
To summarize: Rick Pitino doesn’t hate social media and my day would have been a lot easier if I had just copied what FOX Sports Live had tweeted, made a catchy headline and hadn’t gone through the trouble of finding out what actually happened. Oh, and #WELP. Why can’t they all be gifs?
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