What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Last night, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski became college basketball’s all-time winningest coach, notching his 903rd career victory. This is a accomplishment worthy of note, and Coach K deserves the accolades being heaped upon him today.
But before you think I am one of those willing to put him on a pedestal, you might want to consider that my view of what Krzyzewski has created at Duke has changed immeasurably five years ago. For all his success on the court, Krzyzewski has been guilty of a major failure; one that has many similarities with scandal currently embroiling Penn State.
The scandal that enveloped the Duke lacrosse team a few years back served as a very nice “preview of coming attractions” for what’s happeing at Penn State today.
Walk through the following steps if you don’t belieive that.
Mike Krzyzewski himself. I get that he is a disciple of Bobby Knight, but there is a major difference. It is one thing to be an asshole; it is an entirely other thing to spend thirty years hiding you are an asshole. Naturally, resident ESPN analyst and personal Krzyzewski fellatrix Dick Vitale just can’t understand why there is all this Duke hatred out there. Let’s see if I can clear this up for Dicky V.
Raise your hand if you are tired of watching Coach K scream unrepentantly at officials until every call goes Duke’s way. Raise your hand if you wonder why the media has never exposed Krzyzewski for being every bit the abusive tyrant his mentor Bobby Knight was. Raise your hand if you don’t get why nobody has ever noticed the Paterno-like ring of sycophants willing to lay down their lives for Coach K. Raise your hand if you wonder when Coach K and Dick Vitale are going to pick out a china pattern together?
Crushing Hypocrisy. How easy is it to dislike someone who exemplifies the most human characteristics of a rat all while being a two-faced elitist scumbag? This is Krzyzewski’s major contribution to Duke; he is the titular head of the Hypocritical Douchebag Committee. At once, the Duke athletic culture (led by Krzyzewski) has developed a drum-beat, party-line rhetoric about creating scholar-athletes at a private university, which Krzyzewski seems to believe is the sacred ground for all that is holy in college athletics. This becomes more important later.
Complete Elitism. Duke pretends it is a great place to send your sheltered, privileged kids all while it is located in an exceptionally dangerous neighborhood. The aforementioned hypocrisy not only feeds this faux elitism, but allows it to grow into the worst possible kind of elitism, the kind that has no ability for introspection and no proclivity for perspective.
What Duke and Krzyzewski simply don’t get is that they have created a culture which mirrors all of the false idolatry which has gotten so many other people into trouble, yet stick their collective heads in the sand clinging to the “can’t happen here” mentality with the false belief that Duke’s ivory towers have some sort of shielding capability.
Krzyzewski created a culture of false idolatry and denies he did it. Duke and Krzyzewski in many respects have built each other. The Duke campus is rife with things named for Krzyzewski, there’s a tightly knit culture in the program funded by wealthy donors and protected by an unwritten code about “keeping family business in the family.”
Now for the punch in the gut for you Dukies…re-read the previous paragraph and replace the word “Krzyzewski” with “Paterno,” and replace the word “Duke” with “Penn State.”
Now before you take pen to paper and write some sort of bile-spewing invective to which you Dukies are prone telling me how the Penn State and Duke athletic departments have nothing in common, consider the following points:
Krzyzewski said it himself. In his 2007 book To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever, Will Blythe quotes Coach K as saying “Let’s say at Ohio State that we did what we have done at Duke. There would be statues. There would never be anybody looking for anything wrong with what you did.”
In retrospect, that’s a chilling statement. While he uses Ohio State as his example of a large, public university with a brobdingnagian athletic department where a “Penn State” style problem can exist, there’s no denying that Penn State completely fits the description he offers. Even worse are the suppositions hidden in that statement. Krzyzewski believes himself, and wants you to believe that such idolatry can only happen in a big, public-school setting, and that it is only because of private-school envy that people begrudge him in his success.
It gets even worse when you stop to consider the timing of these comments. These comments were made in the wake of Duke’s own scandal surrounding the men’s LaCrosse team. Granted, those allegations turned out to be false, but nobody knew that at the time these comments were made, and regardless of the veracity of the allegations, all kinds of Duke dirty laundry got publicly aired, and lots of people’s lives were ruined.
In other words, Dukies and Krzyzewski got lucky their accuser was lying. Despite that, nobody at Duke took this for the warning sign that it was. Nobody in Durham seems to want to remember the first few weeks of the lacrosse scandal played out pretty much like the current situation at Penn State. For months, you couldn’t pick up a newspaper without seeing a new sordid detail in Durham, and State College will be no different.
Duke ignored it’s warning sign, and Penn State ignored its warning sign as well. This isn’t Penn State’s first go-round with a sexually charged scandal. Back in 2005, the Nittany Lions athletic department fell under scrutiny when a women’s basketball player accused longtime Lady Lions coach Rene Portland of sexual discrimination by running the player off the team for being perceived as a lesbian.
Naturally, an internal investigation followed, and in 2006 the university found against against Portland. The university issued a written reprimand, a $10,000 fine and a warning to cease a pattern of sexual discriminatory behavior or risk being fired. But on the same day the university announced its actions, Portland responded to the results of the investigation at her own press conference, calling the university findings “flawed,” and that she would return the next season.
Incredulously, the university let her get away with that, and she held on to her job before resigning following the next season. It shouldn’t really surprise anybody that despite the announced resignation in 2007, rumors abounded that Athletic Director Tim Curley and President Graham Spanier had actually forced Portland out. So, not only did Penn State bungle the handling of that situation, they replicated it again a few years later, the irony being the same people willing to throw an anti-lesbian under the bus had no problem protecting a pedophile.
To see the similarities with Duke, all you have to do is look at the culture. University presidents, athletic directors, and players come and go, but when you get facilites and statues named after you, there’s no denying that you control the culture of the athletic department. Paterno built a culture that allowed the protection of a child-raping monster, and Krzyzewski built one that closed ranks in a similar fashion given a similar scandal.
Denying the vibe that allowed the Penn State situation to happen is present in the Duke athletic department is pure denial. Not only have we already seen it in action with the lacrosse situation, its just plain to see if you are looking for it. Check out the irony in this comment I made about Krzyzewski in an article I wrote a year ago about programs I suspected of being dirty.
“I don’t care how much hate mail I get for this, but I’m convinced Mike Krzyzewski is like the church minister who secretly likes little boys. He’s got all the respect of the people who could out him, but none of them do because, after all, he is the minister. Besides, he’s also that hypocritical asshole who preaches about character and discipline, then stomps around on the sideline like the biggest petulant shithead out there.”
In all honesty, this is the part that tipped me off to the whole connection. I can’t deny I’m a Penn Stater, but in light of recent events I refuse to be one of those who is a blind apologist for Joe Paterno. I see in retrospect the warning signs I glossed over, and there’s no way I’m not going to point out these things when I see them.
Paterno used to stomp around on the sidelines in the same way Coach K does, and he never once got called out for it because he had been elevated to an immune status. That immunity allowed him to create and control a culture which eventually digested itself, and the same culture exists in Durham.
Krzyzewski and the “Cameron Crazies” enable each other, just like Paterno and the Penn State fan base did. On the surface, this may be the most obvious reason America hates Duke. Frankly, it always seemed so self-evident. It doesn’t require Jim Rockford or NASA supercomputer to figure out why. All you have to do is watch Duke play, watch Coach Krzyzewski on the sidelines, and watch their fans. They are all obnoxious in their own way.
This leaves us with the upscale rabble known as the ”Cameron Crazies.” Somehow, they’ve become the gold standard in fandom over the years, and it’s the most annoying Duke myth of them all. Duke fans are the worst kind; they are impossibly loud, they disappear if the team isn’t winning, and most importantly, what they actually know about basketball you could squeeze into their ass and have plenty of room left for their brains. You know the type; the people who love sports just because it’s an excuse to get dressed up and yell, but don’t actually understand the game (think Minnesota Viking fans and you get the picture).
Rather than being basketball fans, Duke supporters tend to be pompous elitists who love to roll in the delight of their own feces and are hopelessly ultimate superiority. All one has to do is quote the following Duke fan confronting Elton Brand about his decision to leave Duke after his sophomore year, the first underclassmen to leave early during Krzyzewski’s tenure at Duke.
From: Taylor, Jennifer
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 2:55 PM
To: Brand, Elton
Subject: Leaving Duke
I graduated from Duke last May and just wanted to express my disgust for your decision to leave the Duke program after only two years. As an alum, not only do I hold the school in high regard, but the basketball program as well, especially since both have deservedly garnered such a great deal of respect for their accomplishments.
As part of our basketball program, you represent Duke as a whole. We are first and foremost an academic school, you clearly did not belong at Duke in the first place if this was the extent of your commitment to Duke and a college education in general. You have not only insulted the current students who are putting in four years at a school they love, but also the thousands of alumni who have realized the value of a Duke education and what an honor and privilege it was to be there for four years.
If you do not realize the opportunity you have in front of you to play for Coach K and at the same time attain a Duke diploma, then that is certainly your loss. I just wish that you has spared us the notion that you were continuing in the tradition of being a Duke student-athlete, in emphasizing excellence in both academics and athletics. You will not be considered part of the Duke family, in my mind as well as many others. You have by no means proved yourself worthy of that title.
Now, never mind that Elton Brand was the best player to come through Duke University since Grant Hill. Forget that he was selected first overall in that year’s NBA Draft. It isn’t even important that it took a lifetime of dedication and hard work for Brand to get to that point. What matters is the attitude of this snotty little bitch who is all pissed off because he left her school. To Duke fans, it’s never about great players like Brand; it’s the system that made them successful.
Now compare that to this quote from an anonymous letter I received from a Penn State fan who doesn’t believe I should be criticizing his beloved Coach Paterno.
“You are probably to stupid to realize this, but you are the reason a great university lost a great football coach. You call yourself a Penn Stater, yet you are amongst the ones who forgot about loyalty to the Penn State family. It is at a time like this that families stand together and protect each other. Instead, you chose to take the coward’s route and point fingers at your own kind.”
The rest of that letter becomes both profane and deranged, and ultimately ends with a death threat. But that quote speaks volumes to the mindset of the respective fan bases. Everything is about protecting what is “mine” and how the situation in question affects “me.” Both have such a complete inability to see a larger picture that both need to be summarily dismissed. In other words, the people who are willing to remain blind always add to the damage caused strictly to protect the idolatry in which they feel personally invested.
Two weeks ago, I was one of those people. I thought Paterno was above reproach, and I was wrong. But there is no amount of loyalty to a sport that will make me obviate right and wrong. Paterno was an unquestioned ruler, and when the court became corrupt, it was incumbent on him to do something about it, and he did not.
Krzyzewski is also an unquestioned ruler, and we’ve already seen that Duke is not immune to scandal. While it is too soon to see what Penn State will learn from this, it is clear that Duke did not heed the wake up call they recieved five years ago. As the lord of the athletic department manor, it was up to Krzyzewski to show the leadership needed to change the culture he created, and he did not. Much like Paterno, no amount of wins can change that.