I want to take some time today to ask where some people get lost in what is important about education and sports. Plato said, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”
I am sure you all have heard about Rutgers and their head basketball coach. If you hadn’t, Rutgers fired basketball coach Mike Rice on Wednesday after deciding it didn’t go far enough by suspending (3 games) and fining him ( $75,000 ) for shoving, kicking and throwing balls at players (along with spewing offensive slurs). Now it should be noted that all this happened over a 3-year period (all of it was captured on video).
The video shows numerous clips of Rice at practice firing basketballs at players, hitting them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders. It also shows him grabbing players by their jerseys and yanking them around the court. Rice can also be heard yelling obscenities and using slurs. Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the tape by a former employee in November.
After an independent investigator was hired to review the video, Rice was suspended for three games, fined $50,000 and ordered to attend anger-management classes. University President Robert Barchi signed off on the penalty. It should also be noted that before he was hired by AD Tim Pernetti, Rice had a reputation as being ”a fiery guy with an edge” (Pernetti said the two talked about it for five hours before hiring Rice).
Of course, then, ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired the video. And, when Pernetti came under fire with questions about why he hadn’t fired Rice, he said it was made in part because,” the coach was remorseful.”
I am all about second chances, but (as a parent), I wonder: who was protecting the players? Wasn’t the coach supposed to look out for the kids? And, what about the other coaches, or the AD or anyone? Was there anyone there to look out for the players?
I’ve had a few tough and fiery coaches in pee-wee sports, in high school and in college. But, even as hard on us as they were, they never crossed the “line.”
Isn’t it our job, our duty, to teach and protect our kids?
And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said: “A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.”
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