Today, Rutgers University fired head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, a day after a video surfaced showing him berating his players during practices, throwing balls at them, kicking them and taunting them with homophobic slurs.
ESPN aired the footage on Tuesday night during its “Outside the Lines” program. The video, revealed by former director of player development, Eric Murdock, is from Rutgers practices from 2010 to 2012 and shows Rice’s conduct at practices. The video immediately went viral, putting scrutiny on the university and prompting Rutgers to fire Rice.
Rice had been suspended for three games in December of last year and fined $50,000 after athletic department officials originally saw the video footage. Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said he spent “hundreds of hours” talking to those involved in the program to determine what actually happened.
While the virality of the video and the media circus that ensued is unique to the Rice situation, it’s an unfortunate reality that coach-on-athlete abuse happens all the time, to male and female athletes in all sports and at all levels. No matter the nature of the abuse — verbal, physical, emotional or sexual — it deters girls and women from participating in sports and from developing as athletes, as students, and most importantly, as people.
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