Bob Knight has been accused of mental and physical abuse by former Indiana player Todd Jadlow. In Jadlow’s book, “Jadlow: On The Rebound” he detailed the often harrowing mistreatment he suffered at the hands of his former coach. While many rushed to Knight’s defense, another former player is standing up for his old teammate and has corroborated Jadlow’s claims.
Ricky Calloway says that before transferring to Kansas after the 1987-88 season, he witnessed the abuse described by Jadlow.
On Monday, a letter signed by former and current members of Indiana’s training staff denied ever seeing Knight abuse a player in the way Jadlow described. Well, Calloway has news for those men: it happened.
Calloway opened up to WTHR’s Bob Kravitz about what he saw:
“Everything I read in the excerpts (about Knight’s abuse), it’s all true. Like I told Todd, I commend him for speaking out and telling the truth because a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth. I didn’t expect anybody to confirm anything but it’s documented all the way back to the stuff that happened to Neil Reed (a choking incident that occurred in 1997 and was revealed in 2000).
“I remember when (the Reed choking incident) happened, I felt so bad for him, I found his number and called him. I told him that he wasn’t alone, that he needed to keep his head up and get on with his life. The guy was getting death threats for coming out against the program.
“I was there when all this (the Jadlow allegations) happened. It’s all definitely true, the physical abuse, the mental abuse. He never put his hands on me, but I’ve seen him slap players, seen him punch players, seen him kick players out of the gym when it’s two degrees outside. I saw him hit Jadlow in the back of the head. The clipboard over Todd’s head, absolutely, he sure did. I saw him punch Daryl (Thomas), punch Steve (Alford) in the stomach. I could go on.”
One of the craziest allegations in Jadlow’s book was the claim that Knight would grab him by groin and squeeze. Calloway corroborated that as well: “I would see him grab guys by the groin all the time. All the time.”
In Jadlow’s book he actually criticized Calloway for creating racial tension on the team. Calloway said he didn’t care, he wouldn’t deny what happened just because his former teammate was critical of him in a book.
Calloway also explained why players put up with the abuse:
“Because you have impressionable young kids. We’re playing major college sports, a very lucrative thing. And a lot of guys, he comes into your living room with your parents and tells them, ‘I’m taking your son in and I’m going to be a father figure to him.’ And you want to impress him so much because you looked up to him, because of the figure he was — plus, you want to keep playing. It’s a lot like being a battered person; you put up with a lot of stuff. You figure you can’t speak out about it, you can’t say anything. So you put up with it. We just thought that was the way it was. We didn’t know any better.”
At this point I’m not sure why people in Indiana continue to rush to Knight’s defense any time another allegation of this kind surfaces. That’s who he is and always was. I’m not sure how much evidence his long-time supporters need to finally understand that he was a coach who physically and mentally abused his players constantly.
The sad part is, I think so many long-time Indiana fans have conflated being a good basketball coach with being a good person. That is sometimes true. In Knight’s case, it clearly is not.