The Sissy Factor: Pitino’s Duck-and-Cover & NFL in Court


There was an interesting moment during Rick Pitino’s obligatory handshake-walk at the end of Monday’s exciting NCAA championship game.  As the pyrotechnics began with a bang, Pitino did what I also did 12 hours away.  It was the instinctive “duck and cover” move that probably sent us up a tree a million years ago and kept our species alive long before we developed 30-round magazines for our rifles.

Of course, the next day on talk radio, a significant percentage of calls were comparing Pitino’s Barney Fife to John Beilein’s Dirty Harry-stroll-through-the-chaos.


Bill Cosby, in one of my fifteen LPs in the basement, pointed out that the first thing you do, after being scared by your friends and yelling at them, is to make sure that someone else looks just as foolish as you–as soon as possible.  No one wants to be the only one not like the others–unless all the others are hiding and you’re strolling past the crashed car to ask a punk if he feels lucky.

It’s the age-old boy’s terror of being called a “sissy” on the playground.  You’re not tough enough.  You’re weak.  You’re a crybaby.


Even the title of the Wall Street Journal article (link) puts the “sissy” factor into the reader’s line-of-sight.  Retired NFL players are accusing the NFL of “assembling a “sham committee” in the 1990s to address the head-injury problem and knowingly hiding information from its players on the risks of brain damage from playing football—allegations that the NFL flatly denies.”


Sports fans like me, folks that might also rewind their DVRs to look once again at Kevin Ware’s injury and laugh about Joe Theisman’s empathetic tweet the next day, tsk-tsk our sympathies.

We feel real bad for the injured.  We all donate to the cause and thousands of Detroit Red Wings fans spent a year betweem two Stanley Cups in 1997-1998 praising the bravery of Vladimir Konstantinov who was in a near tragic car accident just days after the euphoric win.


But unfortunately, we are just as comfortable to enjoy our tough heros and let the injured slip gently to the rear of our memories–filed neatly away under, “Boy, that was rough” or even worse, “Well, they knew what they were getting into.”

As the hearing progresses and the testimony mounts of the thousands of NFL veterans who cannot pay for their medical bills to cover their much shortened lives, it will be interesting to how sports fans like me respond.  


Will we continue to purchase videos like these and yell at the TV, “Come on, ref, he barely touched him!” and continue to laugh at Rick Pitino for ducking?

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About Kevin Walsh

Kevin began in 2013 as an experiment that was as simple as "What's a blog?" and ended up becoming a forum for fellow writers. He's been a high school teacher for 28 years and worked as an administrator and instructor in colleges for 10 years since then. Contact him at: He is also the producer of the web-series and blog, www.DiggingDetroit, founder and producer for MMD Productions at which offers quick, professional photography, video and multimedia solutions for individuals, organizations and businesses. His high school media production text, "Video Direct," has been used in 40 states--and he occasionally still sells a few. He is the current president of the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television) which sponsors the Michigan Student Film Festival. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, is married to Patrice and is tolerated by his two kids Aidan and Abby who have all graciously allowed him to write about them on occasion.

One Response to The Sissy Factor: Pitino’s Duck-and-Cover & NFL in Court

  1. Robert Phillips says:

    It’s absurd that fighting is a part of hockey and that headhunting is a part of pitching. When Carl Mays killed Ray Chapman with a pitch to the head with a pitch in 1920, he was never the same player again. He would pitch inside and yell “Watch out!” to the batter when he was able to return to the game. It’s surprising that hasn’t happened in a professional game since, although ex-Phillie Dickie Thon had his face rearranged. (Bear in mind, Eagles fans cheer injuries. I don’t kid myself about that.)