Indiana University basketball Coach Bob Knight has a duty to the young people who idolize him to clarify his feelings about rape, an official in the school's women's affairs office says.
Knight has been the subject of criticism since a nationally televised interview Monday night in which he compared rape with handling stress."I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it," the coach said when NBC correspondent Connie Chung asked him how he handled stress.
"That's just an old term that you're going to use. The plane's down, so you have no control over it," he added.
"I'm not talking about that, about the act of rape. Don't misinterpret me there. But what I'm talking about is, something happens to you, so you have to handle it now."
The statement prompted several angry calls to the university Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We've gotten a lot of reaction to that as a very old and very dangerous stereotype about the crime of rape. ... It's just really important that the university as a whole have a strong stand against assault . . .," said Trisha Bracken, assistant to the dean for women's affairs.
"I personally don't believe Coach Knight believes that stereotype. I believe his heart is in the right place, and heknows that rape is a life-shattering, violent crime," she added.
"What we'd like to see come out of this is an acknowledgement that many of us hold many old stereotypes . . .that need to go. They're not useful.
"As an educator, we'd like to think Coach Knight would clarify that, especially to a student population that looks up to him."
Earlier Wednesday, university President Thomas Ehrlich issued a statement on the controversy from his Bloomington office.
"Coach Knight was not speaking for the university during the interview with NBC correspondent Connie Chung. I deplore his reference to rape, and his coarse language was in very poor taste," Ehrlich said.
However, the admonishment may not be enough to satisfy some people offended by Knight's comment.
"There are quite a few people who feel that the statement (by Ehrlich) is unsatisfactory, that it's not a strong enough statement," said Bracken, whose office received about 20 calls.
Despite the controversy, the university has announced no plans to sanction Knight. When asked about the possiblity, Jim Green, director of IU news services, said, "I have not heard anything to that effect."