We’ve all been in arguments before where it becomes evident that nobody is going to change anybody’s mind. You think what you think, the other person thinks something else and that’s that. Discussion over.
That’s the feeling I got as I watched University of Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak field questions regarding his decision to cancel his team’s game at BYU next year during a press conference early this week.
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Krystkowiak doesn’t want to risk the health of his players in games where he has control of whether those games are played, he doesn’t think anything could change how “toxic” and “venomous” the rivalry has become by next year and he doesn’t care whether you agree with him or not.
That’s fine. Just don’t pretend to have any respect for the rivalry at all. It’s insulting, it’s demeaning and it’s an outright lie.
That’s exactly what Krystkowiak tried to do with his opening remarks, though. He told us how much he respected the rivalry and that we would know how much he loves rivalries by reading and listening to comments he’s made in the past.
Yet he admitted that he didn’t even think about other alternatives to cancelling next year’s game.
He admitted that sitting down with BYU coach Dave Rose to figure out other alternatives wasn’t an option.
So much respect for the rivalry, indeed.
I get it. Krystkowiak is pissed. I’d be pissed too if one of my players got whacked in the face, and I’d be even more pissed if I was then told to go sit down when I made it known how pissed I was.
But just as Krystkowiak says he’s never thrown a punch that was unprovoked, I’m willing to bet Nick Emery probably feels the same. I don’t know Emery, but it’s hard to imagine him being the type of person who just goes around hitting other players in the face and then taunting them when they’re on the ground for no reason at all. There’s always two sides to a story. Not that any of that excuses Emery, but if Krystkowiak really had any respect for the rivalry at all, he might take the idea to talk to Rose, which he so condescendingly disregards, and figure out what that other side is.
But why bother? Why bother when it’s just so much easier to cancel? Cancel a game, cancel a series, cancel a reason for people to watch college basketball in this state. Never mind that a guaranteed 15,000 will show up at the Huntsman Center for it. Never mind that it’s a game that’s been played over 250 times.
Speaking of how many times the game has been played, BYU leads the series 129-128.
So if Krystkowiak doesn’t want to play BYU again, so be it. As far as I’m concerned, BYU officially won the series and Krystkowiak is solely responsible for losing it.
Can’t argue that.