Trash talking on the court and in the locker room is as old as basketball itself but where do you draw the line between a time-honored tradition and verbal abuse? That debate is reaching a fever pitch due to the firing of Rutgers head basketball coach, Mike Rice.
Rice was fired on Wednesday after ESPN published a video of him physically and verbally abusing players and calling them homophopic slurs. He’s seen saying “you f**cking fairy…you’re a f**cking fa*got,” and pushing, kicking and throwing basketballs at players as they flinch.
ESPN received the video from Rutgers former player development director, Eric Murdock, who said he was fired for exposing Rice (the university says those claims are untrue). The video shows practices in 2010 and 2012.
Initially, Rice was suspended for three games, fined $75,000 and sent to anger management classes, a punishment Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi now regrets. Barchi said: “I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public accountability. He cannot continue to coach at Rutgers University.”
Critics feel the public backlash is behind President Barchi’s sudden change of heart. The publicity is bad for the school as even Governor Chris Christine has spoken out saying he supports Rice’s firing and was “deeply disturbed” by the clip: “This was a regrettable episode for the university, but I completely support the decision to remove Coach Rice. It was the right and necessary action to take in light of the conduct displayed on the videotape.”
On one hand, people feel Rice’s behavior was deplorable and isn’t acceptable in any environment from parents even let alone coaches. Others think the firing is an overreaction and shows how sensitive our society has become. His supporters also bring up the fact that the video showed Rice’s reaction in extreme situations, but he was a source of advice and support for his players in positive scenarios that won’t make the news. What are your thoughts, Clutchettes?