But it's 2013. That footage is abuse. I don't want to belabor the point, so let's just say my social views dovetail with this quote from President Obama: "What makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child, it's having the courage to raise one." Even if you truly believe that strength and bravery and physical domination are what make a Real Man, Rice's picking on defenseless players who would never risk their scholarship by fighting back is akin to Kevin Garnett only fighting people at least six inches shorter than he is—in other words, being a phony tough guy/real-life coward.
I agree with ESPN's Ian O'Connor, who on Wednesday called for Barchi and Pernetti to be canned as well. Pernetti's resignation is a good start, but Barchi must also be given the boot. Given that a previous Rutgers' men's hoops coach forced his players to run naked wind sprints if they missed free throws in practice, it's time for wholesale change at the New Jersey public university, which takes in a whole lot of taxpayer dollars.
Are O'Connor and I going too far, Hampton? What would you have done with Rice?
Slurs are unacceptable in any context. For that alone, Mike Rice deserved to be fired. But the hysteria around this incident is becoming a bit much. Rice behaved badly. He pushed, shoved and smacked. Worse—to me, anyway—he called the kids names. Verbal abuse, again, is what's truly wrong.
But I'm also more than a little freaked out by media hysteria and rush to judgment around Rice's case. Like the New York Times' William Rhoden calling Rice "maniac" and "abomination" and saying "there are more heads that should roll" at Rutgers. That's ironic, given part of what Rice did wrong was use inflammatory words.
A little compassion would be nice. Mike Rice didn't kill or rape anyone. Rice was under huge pressure to win at a school moving to the Big 10. He wasn't winning. He had some psychological issues. In December, the school suspended him for three games, fined him $50,000, and ordered him to get anger management counseling. That is the appropriate response. Now the incident is being portrayed like some kind of massive cover-up at a College Gone Wild, and we are told that only a purge at the top can restore order.
Rice isn't a cruel, frothing madman who lives to torment 19-year old point guards. He's a human being. You cited the president on manhood Jake, but Rice and wife Kerry seem to do a perfectly fine job of raising their two children.
Agreed, the coach deserved to lose his job. He does not deserve to become a national object of scorn for the viral mob, a symbol for bully coaches everywhere, and fodder for debate about What it Means to be a Man. He deserves a chance to get help, and change his life like anyone else.
I can't defend Rice's actions as a coach, but still find it hard to stomach the national reflex for outrage, and demands that everyone fall on their sword, as Pernetti did today. What Rice did was bad. No doubt. But it wasn't off-the-charts, beyond-the-pale, rabid craziness. Right after CBS aired their segment on Rice, after all, they aired a commercial for Applebee's with Bobby Knight joking about throwing a chair. Where, one wonders, was the moral outrage when the network cashed that check?