Update: Rutgers has fired head coach Mike Rice following public outcry over the video that shows him physically abusing players during practice. ESPN has more.
The video of Mike Rice going on tirades during Rutgers basketball practices, throwing basketballs at players, pushing and shoving them, and screaming demeaning slurs at them has gone viral. Tim Pernetti, the school’s athletic director, suspended the coach for three games earlier this year and fined him $50,000 after he saw the footage. But only now, with John Barr’s report for Outside the Lines attracting over 600,000 views overnight on ESPN’s YouTube page,
is the school considering removing has the school acted to remove Rice from his post, according to Fox News.
According to Fox’s report, Pernetti was given the video in late November by a former employee. After seeing the coaches “aggressive style” he was quick to hand down the suspension and fine, and, additionally, he ordered Rice to attend anger management classes.
Following the airing of Barr’s report on OTL, though, thousands (including NJ Governer Chris Christie and LeBron James) took to social media to display their outrage at the fact that Rutgers continued to employ Rice at all.
The coach has well-documented history of having a fiery personality, back to his days at Robert Morris University, but for whatever reason, this kind of behavior never made it to the public eye. Even this one-time-intern for the Pittsburgh Sports Report didn’t see anything wrong when I had the chance to interview him prior to the 2009-10 season.
Any coach that feels the need to take physical action against their players to get a message across has no right to be a coach in my opinion. It’s one thing to show passion and emotion for the game and your team. It’s a completely different story, though, when that emotion turns into physical abuse of the men placed in your care.
If you have to intimidate your players, make them scared of you, and put on some kind of macho-man show, than you’ve failed as a leader. You’ve failed at building a trust-filled relationship that helps teams thrive. You’ve failed to help those young men grow. No player is going to want to go to bat for a coach who takes every opportunity to break their ego apart physically and mentally without ever making an effort to build it back up and then some. Even if Rice did do that, it’s hard to believe players would ever buy into it–especially after watching him whip a ball at someone’s head from point-blank range.
Rutgers, whether they’re forced into it to avoid further criticism or if they ultimately come to their own senses,
has to make finally made the move and let Rice go this morning. No school should associate themselves with a coach as vicious as the man depicted in those images.
If you haven’t seen it, here is Burr’s report from OTL.