Pitino rips media coverage in Sypher case

Rick Pitino called a surprise press conference Wednesday afternoon. The reason? To take the offensive on the news scandal involving Karen Sypher, who will stand trial for trying to extort him.

On the day when WDRB-Fox 41 broadcast video from Karen Sypher's police testimony, an obviously angry Rick Pitino stepped to the microphones during a press conference on the UofL campus to criticize the media coverage of the case.

"It's pretty sad on a day where Ted Kennedy died we've broken the news here in Louisville with Karen Sypher's audio tapes to the detective," Pitino said. "That's a pretty sad commentary on us. It also didn't make me pleased that the U.S. Attorney asked for psychological testing of this person. That bothers me very much because I need this thing to go to trial."

The main objective of Pitino's hastily called press conference appears clear - he was tired of holding his tongue about what he sees as unfair media coverage in an ugly public case that has damaged his reputation locally and nationally.

"The FBI doesn't care about basketball. The FBI cares about putting criminals behind bars," Pitino said. "But we're missing the whole point of what's going on here. I've been blackmailed seven months ago and these accusations "were void of any credibility" by the Commonwealth Attorney."

Pitino asked UofL fans to stand behind him throughout this episode.

"I'm asking university fans to change the channel when it comes on the news and if the newspapers want to write about it just read something else and wait for the trial and the truth will come out," said Pitino. "This is blackmail. I was told seven months ago if I fought it my life would be pure hell. It has been pure hell for my wife and family, I didn't bring upon this fight."

Two weeks ago, Pitino admitted to having an affair with Sypher at a Louisville restaurant six years ago.

"Everything that's been printed, everything that's been reported is 100 percent a lie," Pitino said. "All of this has been a lie. A total fabrication of the truth except what I told you about the mistake I made. Everything else is a lie. My lawyer said don't say anything. The university said don't say anything. And the authorities say don't say anything.

"Well enough is enough. I m saying something - it's a 100 percent lie."

Pitino also insisted the story won't affect the Louisville basketball program.

"I'm going to get on to basketball and I will tell you this," said Pitino. "It hasn't hurt recruiting one bit. We will still bring in Top 10 players. We will continue to be a Top 10 program. Our fans are the greatest in college basketball. We will still run this program with great integrity."


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