National sports scandal proves bullying is unacceptable at any age

Bullying has become a hot button issue in America, as it should be. Kids bullying each other in school can be the worst form of torture. For some, it can make childhood a living hell.

But what if the bully is an authority figure? What if the bully is a college basketball coach making millions of dollars a year?

Rutgers University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Rice was fired Wednesday after a video of practices surfaced showing Rice verbally assaulting, shoving, kicking and throwing basketballs at players.

The disgraced coach showed no remorse in the news conference following his firing. Rice looked like a man who was trying to save his behind and hopefully find another job sometime down the road.

If you’ve seen the video and feel the need to defend Rice, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

This isn’t tough love while trying to teach a player the game of basketball. It’s assault. I’m not going to sugarcoat it.

Should he receive jail time? I wouldn’t go that far. But if I were a player I would sure as hell be looking into filing charges.

Rice is seen throwing basketballs at players’ knees, chests and even their heads. The video shows the coach physically pushing players and making homosexual slurs towards them.

Rice wasn’t coaching anybody. He was being a bully. He was using his power to take his anger out on his players.

He lost his job because of it, but Rice needs more than that. He needs help. He needs counseling for his anger issues. A player missing a defensive rotation in practice should not invoke that response.

You can yell, you can scream. I have no problem with that. It’s a part of coaching. But time and time again assaulting players? That’s crossing the line.

What makes this story even worse is Rutgers knew about Rice’s antics. He was suspended for three games last December for his behavior during team practices with few specific reasons outlined by the university.

Well now we know. Athletic Director Tim Pernetti as well as other Rutgers’ officials knew about Rice’s behavior.

So the question now is why wasn’t he fired immediately? They saw the video and allowed Rice to finish out coaching the season.

Only when the media picked up the video and outrage ensued was the decision made to relieve him of his duties. This story reeks of a cover-up.

How could anyone in their right mind watch that video and not think Rice should be fired on the spot?

Pernetti should be next on the chopping block as should anyone who knew about Rice’s actions and didn’t come forward.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not easily offended, but watching Rice literally abuse players made me sick to my stomach.

It makes me wonder if he’s the only coach out there doing this to players who are simply trying to play a sport and earn a degree. My gut says he’s not.

Rice should never coach again. At least not until he undergoes therapy and has clearly changed his ways.

Bullying is one of the most inhumane things in our culture. You expect it from kids, but not grown men.

Good riddance, Mike Rice.

 

Alex is a senior sports communication major from Fishers, IN. He is Scout sports editor.  Direct questions or comments to agross@mail.bradley.edu.