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Rice not alone in abuse, just caught
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 7, 2013 @ 10:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jerry Carino, USA TODAY Sports
There has been a lifetime’s worth of ludicrous commentary spawned by Mike Rice’s video scandal, but the most dangerous remarks were made by Rick Pitino, who is on the verge of leading Louisville men’s basketball to a national championship.
“I don’t think there’s a coach alive that does that, what you witnessed,” Pitino told a throng of national media in Atlanta before the Final Four. “I don’t think you have to worry about that.”
And there is the problem. Pitino wants to sweep this under the rug, pretend it is isolated, a freak occurrence. Nothing to see here folks, go back to your pom-poms and bracket pools.
That may be the case in Pitino’s fantasy world, but the picture is much different here at ground zero.
Several Rutgers basketball players past and present have told me they weren’t much bothered by Rice because they had played under other coaches who acted in similar fashion. And many regular folks approached me last week saying they grew up with coaches just like Rice.
One Division I coach said that while Rice is on the far end of the spectrum, he’s not alone. If every coach’s worst practice moments over two years were compiled into a three-minute montage and aired on ESPN, this veteran coach said, a quarter of them would resign or be fired.
So Rice is not the extreme outlier Pitino would have you believe. That leads us to thornier ground. There is a larger cultural issue at hand, and it’s time for a widespread discussion about it.
Driven by pride, adrenaline, the specter of big money and a degree of zealotry, we accept behavior from coaches that we would never tolerate from a teacher in a classroom or a colleague in a workplace.
I’m not talking about shouting gay slurs or throwing basketballs at players’ heads or kicking or shoving people. We all agree that’s out of bounds. As a college basketball beat writer who attended Rice’s practices once a week for three seasons, I never saw or heard any of those things. Not once.
I did see Rice dropping F-bombs in players’ faces and flying in and out … [For more on Column: Mike Rice not alone in abuse, just caught, click here.]
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