The slurs are one thing. They are degrading, insulting and unnecessary. Mike Rice should be on the carpet for that. Fired? I dunno. For words? Should one be able to say “I’m sorry – it won’t happen again?” And be forgiven? You ask forgiveness on Sunday at Church or on Saturday at Temple. And you are forgiven. You get out of prison and you’re back in society. You are rehabilitated. But it seems like if you say the wrong word, the political correctness police condemn you forever.
Mike Rice also pushed players. Threw basketballs at their legs. Yelled at the players. We’re not talking the violence and mayhem you see in the NHL (“Number 43 – 2 minute penalty for high sticking and attempted murder“) or the disgusting displays of savagery and bloodthirst one sees in ultimate fighting. As to coaches, I think about Bobby Knight — not the most reserved of coaches when dealing with players, fans, referees or the media. I also think of my high school football coaches who shall remain nameless — who got in your face, turning purple with rage. Grabbing, shoving, swearing, pushing and so on. I think too about the 6th grade lesson I learned from Mrs. S (see post of November 23, 2011). I had pushed Tim H. in the girl’s bathroom and held the door closed. Mrs. S grabbed my shoulder, spun me around and slapped me so hard my ears were ringing. Yet it was an epiphanal moment. A Damascus Road conversion. She wasn’t a coach — she was a teacher. And by darnit, she sure taught and I sure learned. . . . . So do players. It is interesting to hear some of the Rutgers’ players actually defending Mike Rice. Listen to their words. . . .
For me, the operative question should be what crosses the line for a coach? Obviously coaches – and players – want to win. But sometimes if players need extra “encouragement” is it okay to provide some tough love? Yelling, screaming and swearing? Pushing? Tossing a basketball? I don’t like it but is it wrong given context? You tell me. . . . . .