Rick Pitino was officially fired by Louisville and dropped by Adidas yesterday, and it took him exactly one day to file his first lawsuit. This afternoon, Pitino sued Adidas in United States District Court on grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming that Adidas’s alleged payments to college recruits went on without his knowledge and cost him his job and his reputation. Pitino’s suit—first reported on by the Courier-Journal—claims that he’s out here for honor more than money.
The lawsuit attempts to make Adidas employees Jim Gatto and Merl Code out to be rogue agents who never worked with anyone from the school on their scheme and only spoke with Pitino in their roles as employees of the apparel company that sponsors Louisville. Pitino maintains complete innocence throughout, and at one point says that he actually had his program become extra compliant after a 2015 escort scandal. As for that scandal? He, of course, knew nothing about it.
The crux of Pitino’s case against Adidas relies on the infliction of emotional damage. The suit claims that a basketball coach is judged for their integrity more than someone else in another profession, so to have the scandal make people question his integrity represented a critical attack on a cornerstone of Pitino’s identity. He asks for relief for a “tort of outrage” (the infliction of emotional distress) caused by Adidas because people are making fun of him and doubting his accomplishments online and in the real world.
Pitino is at least very familiar with Adidas, seeing as he personally raked in 98 percent of the school’s fee from the apparel company. The full lawsuit is below.