I’ve always thought that kids are coddled way too much. The second someone treats them with anything other than kid gloves, they complain and essentially go tattle to the teacher. Oh, did your coach yell at you at pwaaactice? Aw po baybay!
But sometimes, lines are crossed. Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fined and suspended in December for “inappropriate behavior and language” at practices. Everybody knew what kind of coach Rice was (is; as of this writing he is still the head coach at Rutgers), and that “inappropriate language” was pretty much part of the package.
Today, the proverbial “other shoe” dropped, as hours and hours of footage of Rice physically and verbally abusing his players was obtained by ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
I believe that we teach kids to be soft, and to whine and complain. I got a trophy when I was in tee-ball, and since we didn’t win any sort of championship, the gesture offended me. That’s the kind of guy I’ve always been.
That being said, Mike Rice is not being tough on his players. He is not a coach or a mentor. Mike Rice is a bully. He is a bully and a coward, preying on young men that placed their trust in him. The only consolation is that by this time tomorrow, or the day after, he will most likely be an unemployed bully.
What Rice did cannot be questioned; it’s all on videotape. Rice’s future, or lack thereof at Rutgers, is also not up for debate; there is no way he can possibly remain in the position. What does remain to be seen is what happens to Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti. Pernetti saw the videotape when he launched his initial investigation into Rice’s behavior; he chose to suspend and fine Rice at the time. While hindsight is admittedly 20/20, allowing Rice to keep his job should in no uncertain terms cost Pernetti his.
(UPDATE: Beyond that, Pernetti revealed that Rutgers University President Robert Barchi saw the tape as well, and agreed with the decision to suspend Rice. This makes the next part of what I wrote even more apropos.)
I don’t want to pretend that what happened at Rutgers is comparable in scope and heinousness to what happened at Penn State, but the reaction of those in a position to do something about it certainly compares. What will the NCAA do to Rutgers? Anything? If Rice is fired, and Pernetti follows him out the door, is everything copacetic with the folks in Indianapolis?
God, I hope not.
(And now we know the University President knew what went on and willingly allowed it to go for all intents and purposes unpunished. They all need to go, and…well, I’d say the NCAA needs to come down hard on Rutgers, but I’ve already mentioned what little respect I have for the organization anymore, so it would be mildly hypocritical – and fantastical, really – for me to expect them to do anything in this situation.)
* * *
Whoa, total buzzkill, amiright? Yeesh. Let’s get back to the picks!
NIT: It’s Semifinal Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. In the first game, I’m giving lead pipe lock status to Baylor, and in game two, I’m taking Maryland. Ride that horse into the ground, right Coach Rice?
CBI: Santa Clara beat George Mason last night, exactly as I pred–oh. Whoops.
CIT: Championship game tonight: East Carolina at Weber State. As promised, I am going with the Wildcats.
(That’s Weber State.)
Irrelevant Postseason Total: 46-27
Lead Pipe Locks: 8-4
NCAA Spread Picks: 10-12-1