Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired Wednesday after a violent, expletive-laden video of his behavior at practice surfaced Tuesday. Everyone from Governor Chris Christie to LeBron James refused to defend his actions, and Rice himself said outside his house after the termination that "There is no excuse — I was wrong." But that hasn't stopped Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin from making excuses and saying that the coach's treatment of his student-athletes wasn't that bad.
Rice's former players have not been speaking publicly, and so the list of Rice defenders is not long — one of his former players did tell Piers Morgan that it was all "very passionate" but ultimately kind of motivational "joking." Enter Hannity and Malkin on Fox News's Hannity last night, calling us all a bunch of wimps:
Let's break down the Rice defenders, blow-by-blow:
Malkin: "The problem isn't so much that there are consequences for hate speech... the problem is that the left is so very, very, very selective about when it chooses to manufacture outrage and when it doesn't ... I certainly agree that political correctness has run amuck."
The video aired on ESPN, which, last time we checked, is not politically biased — except maybe when it comes Dick Vitale and Duke. And Christie voiced his disapproval. The outrage is national. But Malkin is targeting not so much politics as political correctness — and seems to be implying that throwing around anti-gay slurs and getting punished for it represents something more than a university saving face, that there is some other standard of gay slurs and violence when it comes to mentors of young student-athletes. And so it should be noted that Malkin herself has spoken up in some of her various feuds to voice her opinion that being called bitch, hoe [sic], and cunt crosses her red line of inappropriate language in public or private.
Hannity: "He's trying to bring the best out of them, put discipline in that team, raise their game, force them to focus, push them become champions and that takes intensity."
Rutgers finished 15-16 overall this season and 5-13 in the Big East, which nabbed them 12th place in the conference. The Scarlet Knights didn't make the NCAA tournament. The team, according to ESPN, finished 225th in the country in points per game, 188th in rebounds per game, 178th in assists per game, and 119th in field goal percentage. So, essentially, 11 teams in the Big East with coaches who don't have any evidence of physically kicking and leveling slurs upon their players finished better than Rutgers; 224 teams in the country without evidence of an abusive coach scored more points than them, 187 grabbed more boards, 177 passed better, and 118 shot better — according to Hannity, this greatness might never been achieved without Rice's behavior.
Hannity: "These are adults, they don't want to play for that team, they can leave."
This is technically true. Players can ask to leave the team and transfer, but the school has the ultimate say on where you go [via the NCAA's transfer rulebook]:
Students can transfer without the written permission to contact, but then have to pay for one academic year:
Hannity: "My father hit me with a belt, I turned out okay!... Except in the minds of liberals."
Malkin: "Same here! ...Oh, I certainly did. And with more than a belt. I’m sure the left thinks we are warped minds."
For the record, we're not sure if condone anyone hitting Hannity or Malkin. We're just not sure. Nor do we know if there's an argument to be made that corporal punishment of children will turn anyone into Sean Hannity.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.