So you think its ok to yell and scream at the coaches?
(By the way, for numbering purposes, this is my rant #1 in the
"Destiny Pitts Suspended & Taiye and Kehinde Bello Do Not Travel with Team to Illinois" thread
Until Destiny Pitts posted her intention to transfer, I refrained from posting on this thread. Partially since the facts were sketchy at that point. But also since I didn’t want to say anything that might negatively impact reconciliation discussions with Destiny. I assumed that such discussions were ongoing.
The media releases made such discussions seem plausible. But it was all a ruse - there were no reconciliation discussions.
Note that I have no more information about this mess than the average reader of this thread. Many of the specific facts will never be known. But the general facts are all buried in this thread somewhere, and from credible sources. We just don’t know for sure which items, stated as facts, are actually true. I base my comments on the general facts that seem most credible, and are known at this time. (While at the same time acknowledging that some of the readers of this thread may have different perspectives on what are the general facts. And over time, as new information comes out, I reserve the right to change my mind about what is most credible.)
> Do you think that it’s OK to yell and scream at the coaches?
No, and Lindsay should have taken Destiny aside the next day and had a pleasant chat in which they worked out and agreed on what the ground rules should be for handling player/coach differences of opinion w/o airing their dirty laundry. Something reasonable, like maybe, when being chewed out on the court by the coach, the player is required to listen patiently for at least 30 seconds and after that is allowed to state “Can we discuss this tomorrow?” after which they should politely get chewed out for another 30 seconds and then they may take their seat on the bench and sit quietly. Only after they violated the guidelines and had such a “this is how we do it chat” several times (w/o improvement on the player’s part) should the chat include the warning that next time you do this, you’re going to get suspended for one game. And after a one-game suspension the threat of a more serious suspension next time. Etc.
Instead, Destiny gets suspended indefinitely on the first infraction of an unwritten rule that, obviously, she didn’t get good training on, and had not been told the importance of.
> Do you think that it’s OK to yell and scream at the coaches?
No. But I also think it’s definitely not OK for the coach to yell and scream at a player excessively long and loud on National TV, further embarrassing Destiny (in this case) for a playing mistake she already felt bad about and mad at herself about, and doing this rather obnoxious yelling/screaming long enough such that the already stressed-out/badgered Pitts is effectively invited to join in on the yelling/screaming pissing contest. And then she gets suspended indefinitely for accepting the invitation.
The RSVP for the invitation should have included the following caveat: By the way, if you accept this invitation to the yelling/screaming pissing contest, be forewarned that you will be then be immediately thrown under the bus in order to protect the fragile ego of a sophomore coach.
The Bello twins were moral enough and brave enough to call BS on this, by refusing to go to an away game in which, in their opinion, Destiny Pitts was being over-punished, and in fact, being thrown under the bus by the Athletic Department.
No wonder the Bellos didn’t want to go to Illinois. The trip probably involved a bus ride from the airport.
This was an incredibly inept and tragic handling by the Athletic Department of a no-big-deal minor incident that should have been handled with grace and love and care during a 15 minute meeting between Lindsay and Destiny the following day. Or at worst, a 30 minute meeting between Lindsay and Destiny and Mark Coyle - with the latter there only to emphasize that this is a serious “don’t embarrass your coach standard” that we want you to adhere to. And after that gentle warning, it should have been “OK, back to the gym and practice.”
Instead, while we weren’t looking, apparently the University of Minnesota has done a one-upmanship on the State of California, and adopted a “one strike and out” policy.
We know little about how this so-called disciplinary action was handled, and probably never will. So this is just conjecture, but I suspect that the lion’s share of ineptness was on the part of the disciplinary system per se and/or Mark Coyle rather than Lindsey Whalen. Not that Whalen is without blame, since she started the yelling/screaming pissing contest that suckered Destiny into the fray.
But Lindsay, no doubt not knowing proper disciplinary procedures, obviously went to Coyle and said, “I need to discipline one of my players, what do I do?” I envision Coyle responding to fill out this paperwork and be sure to fill in the part about what the offense was, and we’ll take it from there. And in the offense part of the form they write something like “body language” and/or “conduct unbecoming a member of the team.” And then the thing spiraled out of control for Destiny Pitts.
The Athletic Director makes $950K per year, and was called one of the best in their vocation when his contract was renewed by the provosts. But if he had taken a hot sec to think about it, or to interview Destiny Pitts in depth about her take on what transpired here, he would have realized that this formal disciplinary process was not designed for Pitts’ minor situation of getting suckered into a yelling/screaming pissing contest by her coach, which as a minor (first-warning-worthy) infraction should not have even made it to the AD’s office in the first place. Instead, it should have resulted in a scolding by the coach, and perhaps some policy education.
Coyle really dropped the ball on this one. He needed to mentor Whalen about discipline proportional to the perceived infraction. Instead, he threw our best Women’s Basketball player under the bus, and effectively (for all practical purposes) canceled her scholarship and ejected her from the University. Of course, they did it in a way that covered their ass and made it look voluntary on Pitts part - but Pitts had no other viable choice available.
With the so-called suspension document and action plan that Destiny was being asked to sign under the gun, containing not only way-excessive punishment relative to the alleged offense, and perhaps even loads of half-truths to cover the University’s ass and make it look like it’s all Destiny’s “crime” without mentioning the bating by her coach, there was no way that Destiny could, in good conscience, sign it. It also probably prescribed missing several games (after signing) on top of games already missed, thus missing most of the rest of the season. If you’re going to miss playing most of the semester anyway, and when you do get back it’s going to be miserable working under a coach who just screwed you over, might as well quit now and start afresh somewhere else that doesn’t have a one strike and out policy. Plus, signing that document puts at risk her ranking in the future WNBA Draft.
The suspension document and its action plan are inherently untenable from the get-go, and thus unsignable. Handing her that document to sign (under threat of being suspended indefinitely until you do so) is thus tantamount to canceling her scholarship mid-season, just before tuition is due - but doing so in a manner such that her parents can’t sue.
Of course Destiny Pitts chose to enter her name into the Transfer Portal. It was the only acceptable choice she had. People may say that she chose to transfer; or some have claimed that she abandoned her teammates. But the situation was more analogous to the Athletic Department walking her to the edge of a cliff and saying, “either jump off or else we’ll push you off.”
Destiny Pitts, one of the nicest persons on this planet, and one of the best basketball players on this planet as well, was effectively booted off the team, with scholarship canceled, in a heartbeat for a minor infraction that should have been handled in Coach’s office in a 15-minute meeting.
I say in a heartbeat, because the suspension document and action plan took very little time to create. They probably have an app for that. The process seemed to take longer to posters on this thread, because it took her several days to recover from the shock of being treated so cruelly by the Athletic Department, and to come to the realization that she had no other viable option but to leave - and then compose and publish her Twitter message.
The extremely incompetent handling of this incident by the Athletic Department, along with the horrible way that the University treated a young woman who put her heart and soul and 2.5 years of her time into building the Women’s Basketball program and helping her teammates progress, are unconscionable and repulsive. This was shameful on the University.
In consideration of how badly this was handled and how negatively it impacts the life of s young woman who loved her University, it appears on first glance that heads should roll on this one. If so, the specific head that should roll is probably the AD’s. He had the power and opportunity to over-ride the system and the process that subjected Destiny Pitts to punishment far beyond the scale of the alleged crime - but he didn’t. He had the wherewithal to reign in the consequences of Whalen’s novice knowledge of proper team discipline and training thereof - but he didn’t. He had plenty of opportunity to develop a disciplinary system that is fair, unbiased, deliberate, rights-self-guarding, and with proper checks and balances such as to prevent the miscarriage of justice that happened to Destiny Pitts - but he didn’t.
Just as with the posters who have been arguing that bad actions must have consequences (therefore Destiny must go, in their lame version of the argument), bad actions by the Athletic Department must have consequences. Either Coyle must go, or else a commission must be formed to revise the disciplinary process to something fair and humane, with checks and balances as well as review and appeals capability. Right now, it seems that the disciplinary procedures are designed mostly to protect the University’s ass and/or to give them maximum flexibility to get rid of student athletes for pretty much any reason whatsoever.
On the other hand, I believe that Lindsay Whalen deserves a second chance. (Just like Destiny deserved a second chance, albeit she wasn’t given one.) I believe that she merely wanted to help Destiny improve herself, and become a better person for it. But then she made the mistake of asking Coyle what to do. And then the whole episode got sucked into a badly designed Sports disciplinary system that was bound to devolve into a total C-F. Hopefully, Whalen will learn the obvious lesson: next time you have a player disciplinary issue, don’t fill out some forms in Coyle’s office. Just talk to your player informally. Otherwise, Coyle’s process is going to expel your players, one by one until there’s no team left.
The consequences of the current fiasco may continue to unfold, but probably not til end of season. There’s a high risk of Powell transferring then, since she’s Pitts’ friend from high school and came here largely under Pitts’ recommendation. Scalia is Pitts’ close friend, and they worked closely this Summer developing Scalia’s shot (and various social events per another post). Since we want Scalia to stay, we better hope that her state loyalty plus desire to play in front of family and friends outrank her sympathy for Pitts. It was stated that several other players wanted to protest the Pitts suspension but refrained to do so for fear of reprisals. So the additional transfers besides Pitts and Staples might be none, but could be up to four.
It would be ironic if, after bringing in the (up til now, at least) revered hometown basketball hero Lindsay Whalen to help rebuild the Women’s Basketball program, Coyle’s incompetence at disciplinary procedures destroys the newly rebuilding program (with Pitts as primary leader) before it gets off the ground.
Besides possible extra departures, who’s gonna want to be recruited to the cold tundra of Minnesota when word gets out that they’ll run you out of town on a rail if you look at the coaches cross-eyed?
Whalen will not lose her job due to her role in bating Destiny Pitts such as to trigger Pitts’ alleged use of questionable body language. But I fear she will not get the recruits she wants to build up a solid program, and the danger is more along the lines of a losing record for the next several years.
(From an earlier post by Iggy re Whalen’s presser comments)
> I don’t like the “keep evaluating” response.
Another lie by Whalen, although perhaps just a white lie to dodge further questions along that line. By “keep evaluating,” that gave one the impression that there were ongoing discussions at the time with Destiny, perhaps to determine if she had a better “attitude” now, or some such goal. Actually, there were no ongoing evaluations whatsoever being done at the time by the coaching staff. Destiny had been given an inherently unsignable suspension document to sign under the gun, and the only evaluation going on was Destiny evaluating whether she should sign a repulsive unsignable document or not.
In the end, she could not. They may as well have given her a resignation letter to sign. Yeah, we’re “evaluating.” Right. No, we’re “kicking you off the team,” actually. We’re only waiting to see whether you will go peacefully, or whether we have to make you suffer through three months of the torture of not letting you play.
(From an earlier post by GophaGangsta)
> If she was such a cancer, why have all her teammates come out in support of her.
Because there’s not much threat of reprisal by the coaches now. Now that Destiny is leaving, well-wishes on Twitter are typically considered just normal behavior, and equivalent to a goodbye. Yet clearly, the outpouring of support by Destiny’s teammates meant more than that. Earlier, a verbal protest to the coaches that Destiny’s suspension was unfair, could put you in the doghouse. An action protest would definitely put you in the doghouse, as proven by the Bellos. In spite of only the Bellos formally lodging their protest in the long run, unconfirmed reports suggest that nearly the full team was leaning toward mutiny at the practice following the suspension of Pitts.
We can’t know for sure, but I suspect that upwards of 2/3 of the team thought the suspension was total BS, but dared say nothing in print.
A few parting comments along the lines of Men’s Basketball versus Women’s Basketball. Of course the former is a revenue sport with tens of thousands of fans, not an overhead sport with fives of thousands of fans.
I wonder how much the Gopherhole Men’s BB board would be bustling with protests if Coyle’s incompetence combined with Pitino’s collusion had, almost overnight and with no sufficiently justifiable reason, resulted in the best player on the Men’s Basketball team being summarily run out of town on a rail?
And now a comparison of how the Athletic Department’s disciplinary system worked out for Destiny Pitts on the Women’s Basketball team, versus a prior disciplinary event on the Men’s Basketball team.
We know what happened with Destiny (plus or minus some details that we may never know) - we just discussed it. She was, for all practical purposes, summarily kicked off the team for a relatively minor offense that had more to do with the coach’s ego than anything else, and without any due process, without any day in court to make her case, without any protection of her civil rights, and via a very flawed disciplinary process - all executed within a couple of days. The result was that she (supposedly by choice, but actually with no choice at all) summarily lost her scholarship and her enrollment, nearly overnight.
In contrast, a couple years ago within the Men’s Basketball program, a player most likely raped a coed. Since this was an actual potential crime, of course some consideration for innocent-until-proved-guilty is required, and rightly so, such was provided. Long-lasting parallel investigations were conducted by both police and a special on-campus committee. The male player deserved due process. But the upshot was that he was only temporarily suspended initially (during the long investigation) and remained a team member while all this investigation went on.
I’m not advocating less due-process for the potential rapist. I’m advocating for more due-process for Destiny Pitts. It’s worse than that, actually. Why did Destiny Pitts not get any due-process at all? No day in court. No investigating committee. No higher-level administrative review before the proposed sentence was delivered and implemented. Instead, students who happen to be basketball fans may come back from break to simply find Destiny Pitts missing from the basketball court. The team video intro, photoshopped to eliminate any picture of her. The video of her urging the audience to cheer, replaced by another player. The picture on the @GopherWBB Twitter page, of Lindsay Whalen along with two of her primary stars, namely Destiny Pitts and Taiye Bello, replaced with an audience photo featuring Blanket Lady.
I hope her parents sue the University for violation of her civil rights. But I suspect they just want to move on too, and bring their daughter home from the land of incompetent Athletic Departments.