April 5, 2013

On The Banks: Rutgers Says Bye Bye To Basketball Bully

Rutgers University's embattled bully and former basketball coach Mike Rice
This has been a sad week for the Rutgers University family. When I saw the video of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice physically assaulting student-athletes during practice, while he screamed gay slurs to describe their play, I was shocked and angry and disappointed like everyone else. It was hard to watch, and I thought that Rice’s behavior went beyond bullying, and was surprised that he was still employed by the university.

Rutgers is dear to my heart, and when the athletic director announced that Rice was fined and suspended from coaching three games early in the college basketball season, I was confident that there was a good reason to justify the suspension. Tim Pernetti wasn’t just an athletic director, he was an alumnus and former student-athlete, who ensured that Rutgers athletics had a bright future by joining the Big Ten in 2014.

Mike Rice was fired from his job as the Rutgers head basketball coach on Wednesday, and that termination should have happened earlier. When the University said they had a zero tolerance policy for bullying, after Tyler Clementi took his own life, I wasn’t aware of any exemptions. That would defeat the purpose of the zero tolerance policy, wouldn’t it?

Steve Eder and Kate Zernike recounted the scandal in The New York Times :
ESPN broadcast video on Tuesday from practices from 2010 to 2012 that showed Mr. Rice kicking his players and throwing basketballs at them.
The video also showed him taunting his players with slurs used against gays, something especially problematic for Rutgers considering the suicide of Mr. Clementi in 2010. It followed his discovery that his roommate had used a webcam to spy on him in an intimate encounter in his dorm room with a man.
A three game coaching suspension and fine didn’t reflect a zero tolerance for bullying policy, and Tim Pernetti resigned as athletic director today. I’m sorry that Tim had to quit because of this ugly and embarrassing scandal, and know that the University had no choice but to accept his resignation.

Rutgers is a great University, and like any other school, the health and welfare of the students must come first. When the school makes that a priority, students will enjoy success beyond the classroom, and maybe that will translate to more victories on the basketball court too.




straight talk in a queer world.       jiveinthe415.com                
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