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Bobby Knight on the NBA: ‘They’ve raped college basketball in my opinion’

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It’s not at all uncommon for Bobby Knight to make controversial statements, sure to offend or at least provoke the ire of those who do not agree with him. The coaching legend’s latest comments lambasting the NBA for the part the league has played in ruining college basketball in his opinion are sure to cause a fair share of controversy and rile up some folks.

Knight’s assertion that the NBA is wreaking havoc on the game of college basketball primarily has to to with the propensity of players to go the “one and done” route, that is playing only one season in college before heading off to the more lucrative and profitable world of the pro game.

Speaking on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on Tuesday, Knight arguably crossed the line in the way in which he likened what the NBA is doing to the college game to rape.

“If I were involved with the NBA I wouldn’t want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid, to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I’ve been watching on another team and now he’s 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid. On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to college basketball. It’s as though they’ve raped college basketball in my opinion.”

Knight continued.

“Major League Baseball has the best idea of all. Three years before they’ll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I’m sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA.”

No follow-up question was asked. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

It’s a shame — deplorable, even — that Knight chose to use such inflammatory language to express his opinion. In no way should a term for such a hideous and despicable act of violence ever be used to articulate one’s feelings about how something as benign as the game of basketball — let alone anything else — is being affected by something else,  no matter the circumstances. It is offensive to those who have been affected by such a traumatizing act and offensive to anyone who believes such cavalier use of the term is unacceptable at all times.

This is not a matter of political correctness or taste, either. It displays a fundamental lack of perspective, empathy and understanding of just how horrible the misuse of that word can be to others.

Making it even an increasingly terrible choice of terminology for Knight to use is his history with the term. In a 1988 interview with Connie Chung, Knight uttered the now infamous and reprehensible quote: “I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

Incredibly poor form on both counts. One would think Knight would have learned that certitude from the first time. Clearly — and sadly — he has not.

[Sporting News]