At this stage, the woman in the picture on this post is possibly the most recognizable women's hoops coach who isn't this woman. After the idiotic remarks made by shock-jock Don Imus, Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer was dragged into the spotlight and became a national figure.
Don't get me wrong - Imus screwed up incredibly badly when he made the comments that he did, and I don't for a second condone what he said. However, throughout the whole situation, I couldn't help but think that someone was trying to play this up for a little bit of personal gain. After all, the four-letter network does hold the exclusive women's NCAA tournament rights, and broadcasts more women's hoops games than most anybody else.
After today, I'm pretty sure I was on to something.
Check out this nugget that got front-page billing on ESPN.com today - at the time of this posting, it's given more prominence than the first coaches' poll of the men's basketball season, the Duquesne shooter receiving 40 years in prison, and Genarlow Wilson being freed from prison.
The most telling thing? Nobody else has this story posted anywhere, not to mention on their front page. After a cursory search, I did find that CBS Sports did have coverage of Stringer during Big East media day, but not a word to be found about Isaiah Thomas. Then again, guess who has a hefty NBA contract, as well?
Unfortunately for all involved, this seems like a blatantly obvious and idiotic case of ESPN trying to push as many storylines for different sports that they cover. The saddest part is that you just know that when the Knicks or Scarlet Knights play on the Worldwide Leader, the respective storylines will be beaten into the ground, either as the definite reason why they're struggling or a major obstacle overcome if the teams are doing well. Classy stuff, really.
The real story in all of this mess now, as you can tell in the second-to-last paragraph of the ESPN article, is that Stringer just wants this go away. She'd like nothing more than for people to start talking about national runner-up Rutgers, not shock-jock fodder Rutgers.
Amen, Viv. Amen.