Rutgers men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, got himself into a lot of hot water. He was caught verbally and physically abusing his players. Rice’s assistant got physical with the players, too. Now, the athletic director is in hot water. The head of the school is in danger of being let go, as well. Fans are taking both sides in this controversy. So are some of the players. Where does everyone stand? What does this mean for everyone?
The Incident and It’s Buildup
On February 26, 2009, Tim Pernetti was hired as the Rutgers athletic director. On May 6, 2010, Mike Rice was hired as the Rutgers men’s basketball team head coach. In July 2010, Eric Murdock was hired as the men’s basketball team’s player development director.
Flash forward to November 26, 2012. “Murdock’s lawyer gives Pernetti a 30-minute DVD of edited video clips culled from hundreds of hours of practice. The clips show Rice kicking and throwing basketballs at players, shoving them and berating them with foul language and gay slurs.”
After investigations were made, “Rutgers announces that Rice will be suspended without pay for three games, fined $50,000. He is also ordered to undergo anger management counseling.” Of course the media can’t help themselves. Every major news outlet is showing footage of the abuse. Rice was, of course, fired. The assistant basketball coach, Jimmy Martelli, resigned. Murdock is being investigated.
Reactions of the Players
It would be easy to say that every player and fan should be disgusted with these “motivational methods.” That isn’t necessarily the case. I’m sure some of the fans don’t mind it, because they think it will make the players tougher and more aggressive. Some fans, like myself aren’t so supportive of a homophobic bully, like Mike Rice. Before I get to what it means for the players.
Now, the Rutgers men’s basketball players can get a coach who can motivate players in a constructive manner. The ones who endured the most abuse can get behind a new coach. Some players actually support Rice. “”You can’t let those individual moments define what he was,” junior forward Wally Judge said during a telephone interview Thursday. “In my past two years, me being an older guy and being under other coaches, I have
grown from the moment I stepped in these doors, not only as a player but also as a person
because of how he has treated me.”" How can a player call: physical, verbal, and mental, abuse, an aide to growth? It just defies logic.
What This Means for Everyone
For the fans, this means/could mean many things. It also raises inevitable questions:
* They have a school that is so enmeshed in controversy, that they can never be
sure of having a normal basketball season.
* Will there be a team for them to want to root for? The fans may not want to
root for a team that has so many problems.
* Will the fans believe in a team with a collectively-damaged psyche?
The players/team have even more questions:
* Can we prove that we can come back strong?
* Can we make the fans believe we’re not destroyed?
* Can we restore greatness to the Rutgers name?
The university has a lot of damage control to do. They are under so much pressure to please: the students, the fans, the alumni, officials, the players, etc. Rutgers has to keep media coverage down, for the moment. They have to screen employees better, before hiring them. If they can do these things better, we, the fans, will have more respect for them.