Protesters, waving signs that said "Rape is Every Woman's Knightmare" and "Rape is No Game," have called for stronger sanctions against Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight for his recent comments on rape and stress.
University President Thomas Ehrlich issued a statement last week saying Knight's reference to rape in an NBC special on stress was deplorable and his "coarse language was in very poor taste."However, some 300 men, women and children who showed up for the "Take Back the Knight" rally on campus Sunday evening said the statement was not enough.
They called for "a stronger response by the university" though they did not specify what sanction against Knight would be considered appropriate as well as for a national public apology from Knight.
At issue is Knight's response to NBC correspondent Connie Chung's question about how he handles stress.
"I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it," Knight responded in the program, which aired last Monday. "That's just an old term that you're going to use. The plane's down, so you have no control over it. I'm not talking about the act of rape. Don't misinterpret me. But what I'm talking about is something happens to you, so you have to handle it now."
Carol Loveless, a rape victim from Indianapolis, told the cheering crowd Sunday night that if Knight had suffered her attack, he wouldn't be able "to say relax and enjoy it. If he could somehow feel the terror and threat to my life that I felt, he wouldn't use that word as loosely as he did."
Patricia Ellis, a junior from Atlanta, stood before a life-size drawing she made of Knight and led the protesters in a song she'd written "Violent Knight, Holy Knight" sung to the tune of the Christmas carol.
"I thought it was terrible that a role model like Bobby Knight would make a statement like that. A lot of young men across the country look up to him and he trivialized the crime of rape," Ellis said.
Knight has not returned telephone calls from The Associated Press for comment about his statement.
However, he was quoted in the Bloomington Herald-Telephone as saying, he would be "one of the last people to adopt a careless attitude about rape as criminal assault or toward any form of crime."
Knight also said his comments were misinterpreted.
"The word rape can be used in several ways," the coach told the newspaper.