Coaches gone wild
April 17, 2013
Filed under Opinion Columns
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Throughout sports history, coaches have always been there to lead and inspire their athletes to excel. Each coach has a different tactic to get their team to focus and to work hard, and one common tactic used by coaches is to scream and yell at their players. However, one coach took it too far and not only verbally abused his players but physically as well. Recently, ESPN released a video about Rutgers University men’s head basketball coach, Mike Rice, doing more than just yelling and screaming at his players. In the video, there are several hours of not only verbal abuse but also physical abuse. In the video you can clearly see Rice not only cursing and using homophobic slurs at his players, but he would hurl basketballs at players and kick them. He would throw balls at players’ head and backs. He would shove, push, and kick his athletes as well. While some players are transferring to other schools because they can’t handle the mental and physical abuse from Rice, some players and former players are coming to defend Rice and his actions. One athlete said he didn’t take it personally so it didn’t bother him, and half the time when he threw a ball at a player he was joking around. In my personal experience with coaches, most of them like to scream and yell to get my team to focus, but never once did they actually lay hands on us. One former coach would like to scream and yell and get in players personal space if they did something wrong. He would yell and curse at players and then show them what they did wrong while still yelling at them. He may have called a player stupid from time to time, but he never once laid his hands or did anything extreme like Rice did to his players at practice. Other coaches would yell and shout at times, but found other ways to motivate me and my teammates without getting in our faces and shouting. On the teams I played with those coaches, we had better seasons than with the coach that got in our faces. Rice was fired within 24 hours of the video being released. Rice verbally and physically abused his players for two years while no one stepped up to say anything. That was until the athletic director of Rutgers, Tim Pernetti, saw the videos of Rice’s practices and started an investigation into the matter. At the time, Rice was suspended for three weeks and fined $50,000. His practices were to be monitored and he was to attend sensitivity training weekly. For a coach who physically harm his players and to only be suspended is, in my opinion, just a slap on the wrist when he should have been fired. You can see the video of Mike Rice and his actions on ESPN’s website.