There's absolutely no excuse for what Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice did.
Rice deserved to be fired after the video of his behaviors during basketball practices surfaced. It showed Rice bellowing curse words and gay slurs at his players if they were doing something wrong, and him hurling basketballs at the student athletes, whether it be at their legs, chests or in one case, at their heads. That video shows Rice as an actual bully. Simple as that.
There's no question he should have been fired. The biggest question is this: Why did he finally get the ax now?
It turns out that Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video last November. From that, Rice was suspended for three games, fined $50,000 and ordered to take anger management. But he kept his job.
In hindsight, that's a little more than a slap on the wrist. He should have been fired in November, but he wasn't. And that opens up an argument as to why Pernetti should be fired as well, but that's for another time.
No one deserves to be the leader of a group of young men if their anger takes them to the point of verbal abuse and physical violence. To be sent to anger management is the least of what his punishments should have been.
In a statement to WABC-TV, Rice seemed remorseful (via ABC News):
Again, as I stated three months ago, after I watched the video, how deeply regrettable those actions, I also stated I was going to try and work on changing, and I think I've accomplished a lot of that. I can't say anything right now except I'm sorry, and there will never be a time where I'm going to use any of that as an excuse or will there be any excuse.
His behavior has destroyed his career; there's no doubt about that. But should he be barred from coaching basketball ever again?
From the video, he seems to truly understand the gravity of his actions and it looks like he regrets being that fiery. That's the first step in the revival of his career.
For those of you who believe he should never coach again, think about this: he's been to anger management. Maybe he's been to more sessions like that since November, and perhaps he's found a way to control his attitude. In other words, what if he's a changed man?
This situation will knock him down, and deservedly so. But to bar him from coaching ever again? He doesn't deserve that. What he does deserve is only being able to find the most average of the average high school coaching gigs in the country. Exile him until he proves he can control his temper and truly be a leader on a basketball team. Make him work his way back up slowly so that he appreciates the journey back.
Everyone deserves a second chance. If Rice screws up again, then yes, he should be banned from coaching any kind of sport for the rest of his life.
How do you feel about Rice's future prospects? Let your thoughts be known in the comments section.
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