Bobby Knight is the greatest thing to ever happen to the Indiana University men’s basketball program. He set the Hoosiers on a trajectory that few men or women before or after him have matched at any other school across the university. Indiana basketball has been, at best, a second-tier national program since Knight was fired on Sept, 10, 2000.
He did it his way, and he apologized to no one.
Knight’s behavior was the worst kept secret in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of the university. But when Knight was winning 20+ games per year and positioning the Hoosiers into the national championship discussion, his sins were swept under the rug.
Eventually, the wins started to decline and the aspirations for titles went away. Then, and only then, was Knight kicked to the curb. The president of the university claimed that Knight’s behavior had become too much to accept, and he had to go.
Knight was a useful pawn when he was winning games and championships. He no longer was when his teams stopped winning.
Understand, I’m not defending the way Knight treated people. What I’m asking you to realize is that Knight was cast aside only because he was no longer producing champions.
And that brings me to Donald Trump.
I’ve no interest in defending Trump, and I’ll be celebrating on Jan. 20 when Joe Biden becomes the next president of the United States. But I am disgusted by the number of people and organizations suddenly running away from Trump.
On Friday night, Twitter announced it was permanently shutting down Trump’s personal account on that platform. The language used to defend the decision seems all too similar to what was used on that September day in Indiana. The decision is empty; Trump was good for business, so to speak, throughout his run up to the 2016 election and beyond. Once that changed, Twitter suddenly did what it was not willing to do over the past 48 or so months.
Meanwhile, multiple Republican politicians are running away from the president in much the same way they would be if they were fleeing a burning building. Their public self-preservation and criticisms of Trump are vacuous. Many of these Republicans either remained silent about Trump over the past four years or they allied themselves with him. But now that he can do nothing for them, they claim to be fed up.
If Knight really was that bad in the eyes of the university’s leaders, he should have been cast aside long before he was. If Trump really was that bad in the eyes of Republican officials (not to mention to Twitter), he should have been cast aside long before he was.
Blame Knight and Trump for their actions? Absolutely. Blame their enablers for not having a spine? Absolutely.