Bobby Knight has retired as coach of the Texas Tech basketball team (“Legendary Knight steps aside,” The Japan Times, Feb. 6). Thank God I won’t have to hear about him anymore. Being the winningest coach in U.S. college basketball history saved him from his just deserts as an awful human being. The success of Knight in society demonstrates the pathologically high regard and unjustified position afforded sports and athletic accomplishment in the American mind.
Here is a man who ought to have been in jail as a chronic, incurable violent offender, not kept in a position of influence over young men and revered for his work. But his teams kept winning, so he was tolerated. Let’s not forget how Knight came to Texas Tech in 2001 after being fired from coaching in Indiana after a criminal assault on a student athlete that ought to have landed the man in jail. And that incident was not exceptional, but the norm for this human being.
Sports have no true, lasting value. They are ridiculous. Ultimately, our bodies are not important because they are only vessels that contain our spirits and house our minds, which are our true selves. That’s something to keep in mind in anticipation of the media hype of an Olympic year.