“In the immortal words of Leroy Jethro Gibbs [puts on a deep voice] ‘I don’t believe in coincidences’.”
— Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS
Rule 39: There is no such thing as a coincidence.
— Gibbs, NCIS
Robert Montgomery Knight was one of the greatest college basketball coaches we have ever seen. He belongs in the pantheon of the greats alongside John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith and soon Mike Krzyzewski (who was once an assistant for the aforementioned Coach Knight.) He forever changed the game and is quite likely to be the last coach that will ever lead an undefeated national champion. And yet by most popular accounts he is a disgrace.
Why he is commonly considered a disgrace is simple really – he largely held the press in contempt. And the press was not about to let that go. Yes, Coach Knight had a temper. Yes, Coach Knight demanded everything his players had to give, and just a bit more. Yes, he pursued perfection and had little tolerance for those that aimed at lesser goals like merely winning – sometimes excoriating players that did not share his pursuit. All of that is true. And as the world changed around him, beginning to value nice over good, tolerance over perfection, the press sensed its opportunity to strike back. Coach Knight never changed throughout his tenure at Indiana University, but the world did, and the press used that change to paint the same man that once was held in the highest possible esteem as some sort of under-bridge-dwelling troll just waiting to pounce, with evil intent, on players and referees. Sadly, because Coach Knight’s pursuit of basketball perfection left no room for PR skill, the press won.
It is not coincidental that Coach Knight campaigned for the president. The mere success of the Trump campaign was contemptuous of a press that had pre-written a narrative. The coach and the president have a lot in common. Trump, unlike Coach Knight, is a media master and he played the press like a virtuoso on a Stradivarius. The press did not like that much. And so, as Donald Trump learns on the job, the press is manically searching for opportunities, and grasping at every possibility that presents itself. It is not coincidental that the controversy storm the president now finds himself in broke almost immediately on the heels of the AHCA passage in the House. The press does not want the president to get a win that big and consequential. Said Kurt Schlichter:
So we have to fight against this cable network coup.
But it is also time for President Trump to take a negative lesson from his friend Bob Knight.
His post-coaching career as a commentator presented Coach Knight with the perfect opportunity to charm the media and the public, thus restoring his legacy as one of the greatest of all time. Unfortunately while his commentary did reflect his brilliance regarding the game it was often sulking and generally lacked the charm I know Coach Knight to possess. I have had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions as far back as recruiting team mates when I was in high school, fund raisers and even not too long ago in an airport. He is a genuinely nice guy. But he never could let go of his animus towards the press he then found himself a part of and therefore remains generally considered in a negative light.
Donald Trump’s contemptuousness of the press served him very well during the campaign. But he is president now. Like it or not, his legacy as president will depend on them. Given his media skill, winning the press over should be child’s play for the president.
What’s truly sad is that a coach blowing his legacy really only affects the coach. Sure, those of us that truly appreciate the accomplishments and career of Coach Knight are disappointed, but life goes on. Not so with a president. At stake here is much more than just the legacy of Donald Trump. At stake here is the opportunity to undo so much of the wrong that we were treated to by the last administration. At stake here is the opportunity to restore the designed balance of the constitution. At stake here is the chance to slow, if not stem, the movement of the nation to godless, European style social democracy – something that is rapidly being rejected by the Europeans themselves.
Please Mr. President, don’t blow this.