Louisville, Ky Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday a sex scandal involving a woman accused of trying to extort him has been “pure hell” for his family, and that the airing of her claims made him angry enough to speak out against his lawyer’s advice.
Pitino spoke at a hastily called news conference hours after Louisville police released audio and video recordings of phone calls and an interview with Karen Cunagin Sypher, the woman at the heart of the scandal. Pitino has told police that he had sex with her six years ago.
Sypher claims in the interview that Pitino sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors did not pursue charges against Pitino, and Sypher is now accused of trying to extort millions from the coach. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying to the FBI.
The coach lashed out at the media for again reporting on her accusations by airing clips of the interviews Wednesday.
“Everything that’s been printed, everything that’s been reported, everything that’s been breaking in the news on the day Ted Kennedy died is 100 percent a lie, a lie,” Pitino said. “All of this has been a lie, a total fabrication of the truth.”
The married father of five, who’s also a devout Roman Catholic, said the scandal has taken a heavy toll on his wife and family.
“It has been pure hell for her and my family,” he said.
“I admitted to you I made a mistake, and believe me I will suffer for that mistake,” he added.
Pitino’s remarks were his first public statements since a five-minute apology two weeks ago for an “indiscretion” with Sypher at a Louisville restaurant in 2003. Sypher later told Pitino she was pregnant, planned to have an abortion but did not have medical insurance. He told police he gave her $3,000, money his attorney Steve Pence said was for insurance, not an abortion.
Pitino didn’t plan on publicly addressing the situation again, preferring to let the case go to trial when he says “the truth will come out.” Pitino didn’t discuss details of the case at the news conference and said that his lawyer had advised him against speaking out at all.
Instead, he opted to come forward on Wednesday after a local news station aired portions of Sypher’s interview.
Court admonishes Feds
San Francisco — An appeals court ruled Wednesday that federal agents were wrong to seize the infamous drug list and samples of 104 Major League Baseball players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
In a 9-2 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with three lower court judges who chastised investigators who had a warrant for only 10 drug test results.
Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz both have acknowledged being on the list, and The New York Times has reported the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa also can be found on it.
Mets lose Perez for season
Miami — The New York Mets have lost their third pitcher for the season in two days, an alarming rate even by their standards. Oliver Perez was examined Wednesday in New York and the team says the left-hander needs season-ending surgery to repair patella tendon tendinosis in his right knee. On Tuesday, the Mets announced ace Johan Santana and reliever J.J. Putz are out for the season.
Tigers option Galarraga
Anaheim, Calif. — The Detroit Tigers optioned right-hander Armando Galarraga to Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday to give him 10 days to rest his inflamed elbow. Left-hander Nate Robertson will return from injury rehabilitation to take Galarraga’s rotation spot, general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
Pirates shelve Karstens
Pittsburgh — The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed right-hander Jeff Karstens on the 15-day disabled list due to a lower back problem that started bothering him more than two weeks ago. Karstens is 3-4, with a 5.03 ERA.
Umpire avoids suspension
Denver — Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba and umpire Bill Miller have avoided suspensions over their on-field dispute during the Rockies’ 14-inning win over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night. Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that while nobody will be suspended over the brouhaha, fines still are likely.
Rubio’s status uncertain
Minneapolis — Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn says “no team in any league has reached a deal” on a buyout for Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. A Spanish media report circulated earlier Wednesday said that Regal Barcelona had reached a buyout agreement with Rubio’s team, DKV Joventut. But Kahn issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying no deal has been reached.
Pacers’ Dunleavy improving
Indianapolis — Indiana Pacers guard Mike Dunleavy says he could return from a severe knee injury earlier than expected. Dunleavy says he can do everything except have physical contact, and he expects that to change within weeks. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien has said he didn’t expect Dunleavy to be available until at least January 2010. He had surgery in March to remove a bone spur from the patella tendon on his right knee.
Jets tap Sanchez starter
Florham Park, N.J. — New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has made it official: Mark Sanchez is his starting quarterback. Ryan, who made the announcement after practice Wednesday, said early in training camp he’d like to make a decision on a starter by the Jets’ third preseason game. Sanchez showed him enough in two games to beat Kellen Clemens for the job.
The fifth overall draft pick out of Southern California will be under center for the Jets’ opener at Houston on Sept. 13. The Jets’ next preseason game is Saturday night against the Giants.
Patriots re-sign WR Ortiz
Foxborough, Mass. — The New England Patriots have re-signed wide receiver Robert Ortiz. Wednesday’s move came one month after they released him July 23. He also had been cut by the Patriots before last year’s training camp.
Two Ravens sidelined
Owings Mills, Md. — Injuries have sidelined Baltimore Ravens tight end L.J. Smith and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg. Smith could be sidelined the rest of the preseason by a pulled hamstring and Gregg will miss Saturday’s game against Carolina due to a shoulder injury.
NBC tweaks pregame show
New York — Bob Costas will host NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” pregame show from the site of the game starting this season. The network announced Wednesday that it was tweaking the format of the show. The reunited tandem of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann will remain in the New York studio to provide highlights. They will be joined by two new hires who recently retired from the NFL: former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and ex-New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison.
Costas will share the onsite set with game announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
Vols RB Brown cleared
Knoxville, Tenn. — Tennessee freshman tailback Bryce Brown will not be punished as the result of an NCAA investigation into his eligibility, coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday. The NCAA was reviewing whether money was improperly raised for Brown to visit colleges and collegiate football camps during his sophomore year of high school. Tennessee was not recruiting him at the time. Brown was recruited out of Wichita, Kan., as one of the top high school prospects in 2009.
Indiana to move game
Bloomington, Ind. — Indiana has agreed to move a home game against Penn State next season to FedExField, home of the Washington Redskins. The Hoosiers will receive $3 million in return for moving the game on Nov. 20, 2010.
Hoosiers coach Bill Lynch called the change a win-win situation for the program, which has expressed interest in recruiting the Washington area. Indiana said it would look to add another home game to the 2010 schedule.
Said crew member punished
Daytona Beach, Fla. — NASCAR has suspended a crew member for Nationwide Series driver Boris Said for violating the organization’s substance abuse policy.
NASCAR says in a release Wednesday that Mark Norman also was banned indefinitely for actions detrimental to stock car racing.
Norman becomes the seventh crew member suspended this season under NASCAR’s toughened drug policy.