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The Rutgers Video

April 5, 2013 - Al Stephenson
By now you have seen the video showing Mike Rice, the former men's basketball coach at Rutgers University, physically and verbally abusing his players. If you haven't, you are not a true sports fan. The appearance of the video has led to a hailstorm of firings, from Rice, to assistant coach Jimmy Martelli, to athletic director Tom Pernetti. Even University President Robert Barchi's job may yet succumb to public pressure.

As I watched the video, I tried to make some sense of it. I mean, it couldn't be as bad as it seemed, could it?

Let's start with the verbal aspect. For years coaches have used "locker room" talk that is politically incorrect. It was said behind closed doors and was not considered bad behavior. That of course has changed. Nothing is private in today's society. An occasional slip would likely be tolerated. Consistent abusive language like that used by Rice will not be. My question though, is what did he hope to accomplish by using the words?

The physical abuse - there can be no other word for it - is really hard for me to understand. How can players concentrate on performing required tasks if they constantly have their head on a swivel to see what item might come flying at them next. Would it be a hand, a leg, the basketball or just about anything else the coach could get a hold of. What purpose did all of this serve?

I have no idea.

The view from my seat suggests that the whole affair is really none of my business. What Rutgers does to those involved in this situation is up to Rutgers University. They need no input from me.

The only thing that makes sense to me is that heads have already rolled.


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