Mike Rice – former men’s basketball coach at Pittsburgh’s Robert Morris University – is under fire for after videos of his physical, verbal and mental abuse of his players at Rutgers University has come to light. Rice was fired today for his conduct.
Word in Pittsburgh – will RMU conduct an internal investigation to determine what, if any, abuse Rice inflicted on players during his tenure in Pittsburgh? (2007-2010) He states he’s been a coach for 21 years at the following schools –
- Assistant Coach, University of Pittsburgh, 2006-2007;
- Assistant Coach, Saint Joseph’s University, 2004-06;
- Director, Hoop Group Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp; Assistant Coach, Chicago State University, 1998-2001;
- Assistant Coach, Niagara University, 1997-98;
- Assistant Coach, Marquette University, 1994-97;
- Assistant Coach, Fordham University, 1991-94.
It is simply ridiculous to think he started this when he was hired by Rutgers. RMU told the Post-Gazette:
Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman released a brief statement on the matter and its relevance to the Colonials program.
“Coach Rice’s tenure at RMU was successful. He is obviously an intense coach, and his passion for the game was mirrored by our student-athletes on the court,” Coleman said in the statement. “The behavior on the video is quite unfortunate, but it is not indicative of [c]oach Rice during his tenure at RMU.”
Rice took the Colonials to the NCAA tournament in the final two of his three seasons at Robert Morris, and was an assistant under Jamie Dixon at Pitt for the 2006-2007 season.
This is exactly the horrible conduct that professional (and college) sports needs to weed out. The Univerity of Pittsburgh AND Robert Morris University owe students, alumni, parents and the community more than a few good words.
Medical condition aside, why on earth would he suddenly convert from a respectable coach at RMU to an abusive SOB at Rutgers? That makes no sense. And if he did experience a medical condition – Rutgers did him no favors by not holding him more accountable when they first learned of the abusive behavior.
Rice used some choice words – faggot, fairy, cunt and more. He also assaulted players. Would Pitt, RMU or Rutgers accept these “performance” tactics from a mathematics professor?
I think these lines from an ESPN report are telling:
After landing the position in 2010, Rice moved his family from Pittsburgh to Little Silver, N.J. He quickly became part of the fabric of that community, often attending church functions and youth games that his children played in. But on the practice floor, some 30 miles away, obviously, a different person surfaced.
A different person? This is a mythology that pervades a culture of abuse (and rape.) The abusers are seemingly good guys with a “bad side” — they worship, attend community functions, maintain jobs and are seeming good guys. But not really – the abuser is not a different person. It is a misleading metaphor – Rice is Mike Rice and he may successfully hide his abusive personality in certain situations, but he’s not a good guy. He’s not a responsible member of the community. He’s not an upstanding citizen or a loving father. He is an abusive man who physically assaulted kids and uses homophobic and gender bashing slurs. He is a product of sports culture and he is not alone.
Think Progress has what I think is a good final statement.
What’s worse is that Rutgers president Robert Barchi was also aware of the abuse and did not act. In a statement today, Barchi admitted that he supported Pernetti’s plans to rehabilitate Rice. Only after the video was released to the public did Barchi reconsider that the abuse was worthy of termination. Notably, Rutgers is where Tyler Clementi, a gay student who was humiliated by his roommate’s invasion of his privacy, committed suicide in 2010. The university has been the center of a conversation about minimizing anti-LGBT harassment, and yet Barchi still was willing to excuse Rice’s behavior until public outcry convinced him otherwise.
Let’s see if Pitt and RMU learn from the situation under Penn State’s tyrant Joe Paterno and INVESTIGATE or if they sweep things under the rug and hope no one comes forward.