With the University of Louisville's basketball program embroiled in a messy scandal that involves allegations of luring recruits with escorts and sex parties, its Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino is getting some support from "The Greatest."
Muhammad Ali took to his Twitter account on Thursday to support the Cardinals and call for his hometown of Louisville to unite.
Ali's support comes days after five ex-Louisville basketball players and recruits told ESPN's Outside the Lines that they attended sex parties on the school campus that included strippers paid for by the Cardinals' former graduate assistant coach Andre McGee from 2010 to 2014.
Their claim is further supported by the book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, published earlier this month by former escort Katina Powell. In the book Powell details nearly 24 sex parties with strippers with Louisville's basketball team on its campus from 2010 to 2014 and she claims she has text messages, phone records and journals as proof.
On Tuesday night, Pitino spoke with ESPN, imploring McGee to come forward and "tell the truth."
Many critics feel like Pitino should lose his job as the Cardinals coach due to the scandal happening on his watch — whether he knew about it or not. In a blog post Thursday, Pitino said he won't step down as the Cardinals coach.
With details of the scandal still coming out, Ali is proud to show support and is calling on his followers to embrace the embattled program. Ali's family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said that the former boxing champion wanted to show support for Pitino and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich.
"That is very important to Muhammad and his family," Gunnell told ESPN.
Ali, 73, was honored with the Grawemeyer Spirit Award from Louisville last month for inspiring the masses.
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(Photo: Stephen Cohen/Getty Images for Muhammad Ali Center)
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