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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

UConn's Auriemma chooses words carefully on legalized discrimination issue

UConn has been in the national news ever since Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed an executive order banning state-funded travel to Indiana after that state signed a law that opponents say legalizes discrimination on the grounds of religious protection.

One of the results of this executive order is that UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will not be going to Indianapolis, the site of the men's Final Four.

On a conference call this afternoon Auriemma was asked for his take on the law passed in Indiana. Auriemma is about as outspoken an individual of a variety of issues that you will find but he was very careful with how he answered this particular question.

"I am not completely familiar with the fine print with exactly what it is they are trying to do," Auriemma said. "I heard this morning on the news that somebody is backtracking on what it means, what it doesn't mean and how to rewrite it and how to do make it so everybody understands it better, what you can do and what you can't do. I am probably not the best person to ask.

"I am a basketball coach and I get to coach a lot of different types of people, different backgrounds, different races, different religions, different orientations or whatever it is and to be that is personal. I try to stay out of their personal lives unless they want me in it. I have always been fascinated by people who care so much about what other people are and what they do in their personal lives. How small minded do you have to be to care that much about what other people are doing, life is hard enough as it is trying to live your own life, what do you care about what other people are doing as well as it doesn't affect you. Hiding behind this religious crap, that is the most cowardly thing I've ever heard of.

"I don't know all the details but from what I've heard and from what people have told me, it is 2015, I am sure those people are nice people out there, I am sure they don't want the (2016 Women's) Final Four to be canceled (or moved out of Indianapolis), I am sure they don't want all this bad publicity that they are getting, nobody wants that but come on and come to your senses here. Let's go on with your life and let everybody else go on with theirs. That is my approach with my team and I don't understand anybody who has a different approach."

Sadly, his comments on this very important issue are not the ones generating the most buzz. It is when he called the men's college basketball game "a joke."

It was a classic click bait tactic for a national writer to ask somebody who hasn't coached men's college basketball to give his opinion on the quality of play on the men's game. People shouldn't care what Auriemma thinks of the men's college game any more than they should care what a college softball coach thinks of Major League Baseball. But that is not the world we live in. Social media is blowing up with reaction to Auriemma's comments with many of them calling him or women's college basketball "a joke."

Here are the comments in full

"It's funny, you asked me that, I just had a conversation with (Saint Joseph men's basketball coach) Phil Martelli yesterday and I think he's the president on the NABC board of directors or we had this conversation and we talked a lot about where the game is and what the future of the game is. And obviously it's immensely popular. You look at the interest paid on the NCAA tournament. I don't know that it's as immensely popular during the regular season as it used to be, but obviously the tournament is just at another world when it comes to that. Having said that, I think the game is a joke. It really is. I don't coach it. I don't play it, so I don't understand all the ins and outs of it. But as a spectator, forget that I'm a coach, as a spectator, watching it, it's a joke. There's only like ten teams, you know, out of 25, that actually play the kind of game of basketball that you'd like to watch. Every coach will tell you that there's 90 million reasons for it.

The bottom line is that nobody can score, and they'll tell you it's because of great defense, great scouting, a lot of team work, nonsense, nonsense. College men's basketball is so far behind the times it's unbelievable. I mean women's basketball is behind the times. Men's basketball is even further behind the times. Every other major sport in the world has taken steps to help people be better on the offensive end of the floor. They've moved in the fences in baseball, they lowered the mound. They made the strike zone so you need a straw to put through it. And in the NFL you touch a guy it's a penalty. You hit the quarterback, you're out for life. You know, in the NBA, you touch somebody in the perimeter, you whack guys like they used to do when scores were 90 to 75, they changed the rules.

"This is entertainment we're talking about. People have to decide, do I want to play 25 bucks, 30 bucks to go see a college scrum where everybody misses six out of every ten shots they take, or do I want to go to a movie? We're fighting for the entertainment dollar, here, and I have to tell
you it's not entertainment from a fan's standpoint. So that's just -- I'm talking as a fan, not as Geno, Auriemma, the basketball coach. "


Anonymous Malloy is a hypocrite said...

The Indiana law is being wildly and widely misrepresented. It does NOT "allow discrimination." It merely aims to protect people FROM discrimination on the basis of religion.
There is not a single word in the text of the law that says it is okay to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The outcry is over something that isn't even there.

8:51 AM 

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