Aug. 26, 2009
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
University of Louisville Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino spoke to reporters at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Yum! Center. A transcript of Pitino's statement can be found below, while a link to the audio of the statement is provided above.
University of Louisville Men's Basketball Head Coach Rick Pitino
"I told you last time that I wasn't going to say anything until the trial, but I think it's really necessary that I do now because I'm a little upset. This is a day I went home to comfort my wife, who as you would imagine in the last seven months, has had a difficult time as her husband was blackmailed during the tournament and extorted for millions of dollars. From that point, all she has read is all of these false allegations. It's a pretty sad day. Look, I understand your business very well. I hope, some day when I'm done coaching, I can enter your business because I don't want to just retire. I understand the competitiveness of it and I understand, with these economic times, how difficult it is for everybody."
"What I don't understand is why you keep fostering this behavior. On a day where Ted Kennedy died, we broke into the news here in Louisville with Karen Sypher audio tapes with a detective, which had already been put out. That's a sad commentary on us. And it's also a pretty sad commentary when you look at the things that have been said from day one and even yesterday, which didn't make me too pleased, that the US Attorney asked for psychological testing for this person and that bothers me very much because I need this thing to go to trial."
"I'm a very proud New Yorker and all my close family and friends had to read in the tabloids all these viscous things that were said. The FBI doesn't care about basketball. The US Attorney doesn't care about basketball. In all my discussions, they never brought up the Final Four to me. The FBI cares about putting criminals behind bars. The US Attorney prosecutes criminals and lets the juries decide what happens. But we're missing whole point of what's going on here. I was blackmailed seven months ago and these allegations were proven false. I'll repeat the Commonwealth Attorney's words as they were `void of any credibility'
Enough is enough and everybody is tired of it. We need to get on with the important things in life like the economy and really crucial things in life like basketball. I'm asking all fans that if this is on the news anymore, and you're a fan of anything we've accomplished, to just change the channel. And if the newspapers want to write about it, then just read something else, wait for the trial and the truth will come out. This is blackmail. I was told seven months ago that if I fought it, my life would be pure hell. I went home to comfort my wife because it has been pure hell for her and my family. And don't tell me it's been pure hell for other people because I'm not the one who went to Fox 41 and gave all these allegations out. I didn't bring upon this fight. All I did was stand up to a long laundry list of people, who have passed away today and who couldn't stand up because what was done was wrong."
"Now, I will wait for the trial for all of the details. I will wait for the trial because that's what this is all about and I'm not going to continue to talk about it anymore. But I will say this is the definition of the person that you keep reporting on. It's someone who lies inconsistently to get their way and does so with little concern for others. And I will make one further statement to all of you about this because whatever has been written in New York - again, I'm a proud New Yorker and the writers there have always treated me with great respect - but my family and friends had to read this garbage. And it's the same thing here in Louisville, where I've spent the last, going now on 17 years, and I can't love a state anymore than this. Everything that's been printed, everything that's been reported and everything that you're showing and breaking in with on a day when Ted Kennedy died is 100 percent a lie. A lie. All of this has been a lie and a total fabrication of the truth, except for what I told you - the mistake that I made. Everything else is a lie. Tim Sypher has not come forward to tell the truth because he'll have to do it at the trial because he's in a custody battle for his child. So nobody really can stand up. I couldn't say anything because my lawyer said `don't say anything.' And the university says `don't say anything.' And the authorities said `don't say anything.' Well, enough is enough and I am saying something. It's a lie. It's a 100 percent lie. You've known it was a lie. You've all known it. You haven't printed it and you haven't said it. You've know the background, but you haven't said."
"So, I'm going to get on with basketball. I will tell you this: it hasn't hurt recruiting one bit. We will still bring in top 10 players. This program has been a top 10 program the last two years and it will continue to be a top 10 program. Our fans are the greatest in college basketball - that's my opinion and I work here. I'm sure there are great fans everywhere. We'll continue to bring in great players. We will still run this program with great integrity. No question. I admitted to you that I made a mistake. And believe me that I will suffer for that mistake. My wife and family do not deserve these lies. You shouldn't be reporting these lies. You want to report the truth? Go ahead and do it. Report the truth. Do your investigative reporting. Get the open records. Get anything you want that you can get. When it comes to trial, you'll know the truth and that's why I haven't gone around to Inside Edition and this station and this station and this station - because I know it's going to come out. The FBI and the US Attorney's office don't go after jay-walkers. Thank you very much."