ESPN’s Roxanne Jones says in a piece for CNN that firing Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice will not take the brutality out of college sports. In fact, it just might pave the way for him to receive another job after he rehabilitates his reputation.
Watching the video of Rice batter and berate his players, I recalled the dozens of other times I’d witnessed similar scenes, at my son’s Amateur Athletic Union games, at playground pick-up games.
And I thought immediately of watching coaches like Bobby Knight and P.J. Carlesimo.
The video highlights are not easy to watch, but they do not tell the whole story.
“Yes he went overboard. But you can’t get a good feeling for what went down by seeing highlights on ESPN. No one was scared of Coach Rice. We didn’t fear him. We just understood him,” Mike Coburn, who played for Rice from 2010-11, told New Jersey’s Star Ledger.
Indeed, the world today is in a better, more enlightened place, where it’s not nice to call people obscene or homophobic names. Where slapping people upside the head, beaning them with a basketball or giving them a swift kick in the rear is not considered the best motivational tactic. But the sports nation has not quite caught up with the rest of this kinder, gentler world. Frankly, I don’t think it should — not completely anyway.
That may be hard to understand for some people. But no one who has been up close to sports can honestly be shocked by Rice’s coaching techniques. He is not an anomaly — especially in the win-at-all-costs, big-money world of college sports …
Read Roxanne Jones’ entire piece at CNN.
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