Pitino reacts to the finger & the scandal

Published: Feb. 5, 2016 at 7:06 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino ended his press conference with the local media Friday afternoon with a 15-minute diatribe.

In it Pitino touched on whether or not he made an obscene gesture at University of Kentucky fans following last Saturday's 75-73 loss to the Wildcats; skipping the press conference after that game; and Katina Powell and the NCAA investigation sparked by her book Breaking Cardinal Rules.

What sparked Pitino's monologue was one question: Did he flip off UK fans?

"I did not, and it wasn't fans per se, I was in the tunnel, and it's not really important," he said.

[OTHER NEWS: The game that changed the UofL football program]

Then, Pitino went off on a different tangent - not attending the post-game press conference after the UK game.

"I said it 36 hours before the game to (UofL radio broadcaster) Paul (Rogers), as well as (UofL media relations director) Kenny (Klein), I wasn't going to do the press conference because it's a very emotional game for me," he said. "Just when we go into a press conference in a neighborhood like that I don't want to hear about the scandal. I don't want to hear about that. That's has bothered me every single night."

That scandal, of course, is the one sparked by Powell's book, in which the self-described madam claims that she and her escorts were paid thousands of dollars by former UofL staffer Andre McGee in return for sex and providing strippers for parties for UofL players and recruits. Some of those parties, according to Powell, occurred in Minardi Hall, the UofL dormitory for the basketball team.

In his first comments about the scandal since November, Pitino said, among other things, that "somebody criminally came onto our campus (and) I'm pissed off at ESPN for even giving a forum to that person (Powell)."

It isn't just ESPN that Pitino was angry with. He also took umbrage with some in the local media and said that he feels like that he and his program have "been wronged." He also made his most damning comments against McGee yet.

"Now did one person do some scurrilous things?" the UofL coach asked rhetorically. "I believe so. What I know now, I believe so.

"The only thing I don't know is why he did it. I just, for the life of me, can't figure it out. He knew better. He was taught better, by his parents and by me."

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