Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mike Rice: A Lesson in What not to Do in Coaching or Life

Outside the Lines is about as flagship a program on ESPN as SportsCenter is and on Tuesday they sure made a lot of headlines with their story on Mike Rice, the head basketball coach (for now) at Rutgers University. In the story they show video of Rice verbally and physically abusing players - an allegation brought about by former director of player development - Eric Murdock.

The video is disturbing to say the very least and the how and why of how ESPN got the film isn't nearly as important as the facts that the tapes lay bare. Look, we've probably all been yelled at and probably sworn at by a head coach in our times playing sports - it's about as common as breathing.

For me, that's not the issue, the issue for me is the rest of his language, calling his players homophobic slurs and emasculating his players - that's simply unacceptable. Even worse are the actions of physical abuse that are clear for everyone to see in the video linked above.

I have some personal experience with a controversial head coach to say the least. I grew up learning basketball from one of the most hard nosed coaches one will ever meet in the state of Wisconsin - he was a winner and he did it at two of the biggest high schools in my area.
He was also one tough S.O.B. and demanded a lot out of his players. Did he intimidate some people? Sure. Did he scare the crap out of some? Yes. Was he doing a verbal high-wire act at times? You bet. However, as controversial as he could be with how he treated some players, he also taught them how to be winners. He also never physically abused his players.

Rice was already suspended for his actions earlier in the 2012-13 season and fined $50,000 dollars - however no one really knew the exact why behind it. Now it's pretty clear what that why could've been.

Does Rice deserve a chance to explain himself? Not at all, the evidence is as cut and dry as it comes in the raw and unedited nature of the footage.

Yes, Murdock has an agenda in releasing these tapes to ESPN and to speaking out about it, hard not to when you are suing the school you used to work at for wrongful termination. But the beauty of these tapes is that they speak for themselves. There's no "agenda" to speak of but the truth as to who Mike Rice is as a coach.

Heck, all you have to do is YouTube Mike Rice video and you'll see smaller examples of his "coaching style" on display.

It's pretty safe to say this dude is a straight up jerk - and I'm keeping it PG, unlike coach Rice. Oh, and you get a clear example of this guy teaching high school kids how to cheat... Nice touch there.

If he is a coach for one more day, let alone one more week it's a travesty of the highest order in life, not just in the world of sports either. Coaches are supposed to be mentors, not abusers and anytime that is happening it needs to be dealt with swiftly and without hesitation. If Tim Pernetti, the AD at Rutgers, isn't willing to do it then it's time for the board of Rutgers to step in and remove them both.

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