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Principles

[ 85 ] April 3, 2013 |

Rutgers fires abusive and homophobic basketball coach not when it finds out about his disturbing rants against players. Rather, it fires him only after the story becomes national and gives Rutgers sports a bad name. Because the latter is what’s really important.

Also what is it with basketball coaches and abuse? There seems to be a sector of coaches that think Bobby Knight was a good coach because he abused players.

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  1. newsouthzach says:

    I also like how Christie is now denouncing Rice for being a verbally abusive hothead. Pot, meet kettle.

  2. c u n d gulag says:

    The only reason he was fired, was because this went viral.

    One might think that Rugers, only a few hundred miles away from Penn State, might have learned a lesson, and seen a problem with their coaches despicable behavior.
    Oh, but, he wasn’t out feckin’ little boys, just throwing anti-gay slurs at young men, so, that was ok, I guess.

    Now that the coach is gone, this guy needs to go next.

    Sadly, this is kind of what guys my age, 55, lived through when we played HS and College sports back in the old days- not that I played in College, I was already too beat-up and injured from HS and youth Football, Baseball, and Wrestling.
    There was a lot of foul language, and use of crude homophobic terms that, thankfully, are no longer acceptable.

    I will admit, though a Liberal my whole life, that I was a bit late on coming around on accepting homosexuality.
    Being an Upstate NY jock didn’t help to enlighten me.

    Getting out of sports and into College Theatre (because, when you don’t have jock-appeal with the cheerleaders anymore, I found that the actresses were just as pretty and smart – if not even more so) eventually cured me of homophobia, since daily exposure to young gay men and women showed me that they had the same wishes, dreams, hopes, and fears that I did – and that the only difference is, they just prefer someone of their own gender, sexually.

    Closets are terrible places to keep human beings.

    • rea says:

      just throwing anti-gay slurs at young men

      Rutgers, of course, had the Tyler Clementi incdent just a couple of years ago . . .

      • actor212 says:

        Which is the icing on the tragic cake of this incident. Seriously, the administration just got the school back from the precipice of that tragedy and here they find out the coach of a major sports team of theirs is calling kids “faggot”?

        Really?

      • Tybalt says:

        And they had had another incident of a basketball coach abusing/humiliating players back in the late 90s, when Kevin Bannon got in trouble for making players do naked windsprints as a punishment drill.

        They got away with it that time, as did Bannon, but he was radioactive and never worked in college basketball again.

  3. rea says:

    What I don’t understand, is how anyone could thing treating players this way motivates them to do anything other than hate the coach’s guts . . .

    • Medrawt says:

      Because for (some) players it works (somewhat). NBA coaches almost never behave this way because they’re coaching men. They’re coaching successful rich men whose very presence in the NBA validates their worth as basketball players, but it’s probably enough that they’re men and not boys. Some boys will rebel at this treatment, and many will shrink and curdle from it, but enough boys who’ve been acculturated to the idea will respond to an adult masculine authority cowing, bullying, and emasculating them. It can’t be the best way to get it done, but for enough coaches enough times it does get it done, because the boys are sufficiently pliant, insecure, and eager to achieve validation. And they’re just young. My father recalls that the people, like him, who went straight to law school from college were intimidated by the famously intense and bullying professors, but the people who were older and came to law school after working or the military were much more confident and unimpressed by that kind of behavior.

      • efgoldman says:

        NBA coaches almost never behave this way because they’re coaching men. They’re coaching successful rich men whose very presence in the NBA validates their worth as basketball players, but it’s probably enough that they’re men and not boys.

        A significant portion of those NBA “men” are the same age as the college “boys”, just with better skills.

        …but the people who were older and came to law school after working or the military were much more confident and unimpressed by that kind of behavior.

        mrs efgoldman went back to school in her early 40s to complete her degree. She didn’t take any shit from any of the bully/diva professor types, which led to the some of the college age kids doing the same thing, which pushed some of the profs to change behavior.

        • Medrawt says:

          there’s some overlap age-wise – there’s about 450 roster spots, and about 60 new players per year – but the average age of an NBA player is around 27, and per wikipedia it’s been stable between 26 and 28 for the past 30 years. And while there are older teams and younger teams, it’s not like there’s a team that’s mostly college age kids; the youngest team in the NBA this season averages just under 24yo.

      • socraticsilence says:

        Also the power dynamics are different, you hit a guy who relies on you for an education and you’ll probably get away with it, you hit a man with millions in the bank and millions more guaranteed and you’re going to get Carlesimo’d.

        • NonyNony says:

          Yeah, this is a hell of a lot closer to what’s going on here.

          You really think guys in the NBA would put up with that kind of crap without getting a lawyer on the phone to do a close-reading of their contracts to find out exactly what clause they can go threaten the owners with to get the coach to cut it out?

        • Mike Schilling says:

          Apropos, you know that you can’t lose your guaranteed contract even for assaulting your coach.

      • Lego My Eggo says:

        Because for (some) players it works (somewhat).

        Not arguing that, but I doubt that’s the actual motivation in most of these cases (see also, Little League Dads). I think it’s a hard-to-untangle bundle of alpha-male insecurity, hypercompetitiveness, anger issues, poor socialization, possibly having been a victim oneself of such abuse, and plain old coaching incompetence (i.e., not knowing how else to do it).

        NBA coaches almost never behave this way because they’re coaching men.

        They take it out on the refs, instead. :)

        Again, I think it’s more complicated than that. For one thing, there are a lot more college coaching jobs, which means you’re far more likely to see incompetent assholes like Rice getting jobs and keeping them far too long. It’s the Lottery Effect — the more people who buy a ticket, the more likely someone will have the winning number.

        More importantly, value(coach) > value(star player) in college, but 10*value(coach) < value(star player) in the NBA. College coaches (the good ones, anyway) are key to recruitment, and the top college players will be one-year-and-done anyway, so assholes like Knight and Rice get to keep their jobs as long as they're keeping the alumni happy and bringing in enough capable recruits to produce winning records. It doesn't really matter if other methods might produce even better results.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      Oh, a lot of them DO hate that kind of coaches guts!

      The problem is, fear of losing your status, regarding being on a school team, is a wonderful motivator for young men.
      And, I suspect, a fair share of female athletes.

      I have also seen this kind of behavior in Theatre directors and producers – which is quite a different environment from school athletics.

      And, I’ve also been around assholes like this in corporations.
      I had one Division President who used to like to throw things and scream at Directors who told him things he didn’t like. Eventually, he was fired. But by then, I was already gone about a year.

      This type of behavior is not something unique to athletics.
      Hopefully, setting the precedent of firing people for their behavior, will continue to make the point that acting like this, is entirely unacceptable.

      • efgoldman says:

        I have also seen this kind of behavior in Theatre directors and producers…

        Orchestra conductors and divas of various kinds, also too.

      • actor212 says:

        I’ve played on teams that were often scouted by major league organizations in baseball and basketball.

        I’ve quit teams at that level who were coached by monsters like this, and been snapped up almost immediately by other teams. All it took was the guts to say “basta”.

        • Jordan says:

          yeah, you can’t really do that in college athletics.

          • actor212 says:

            If you’re on scholarship, not likely. After all, it’s indentured servitude.

            • NonyNony says:

              Even if you’re not on scholarship, doesn’t the NCAA require you to sit out a year if you switch universities for any reason?

              • efgoldman says:

                Only in division 1.

                • actor212 says:

                  Wasn’t there a kid in this year’s tournament that made the Sweet Sixteen two years running for two different schools, tho?

              • Bill Murray says:

                There is an ability to get 1 year exception waivers to the sit out a year rule

                not very common 4 year to 4 year exeptions

                -Student-athletes in exchange programs;
                -When a student’s academic program is discontinued;
                -If the student returns from military service;
                -If the student-athlete’s sport was dropped or never sponsored by the first school;
                -The student-athlete has not participated in sports for at least two years; or
                -The student-athlete was not recruited and only tried out.

                Other exception requirements

                -Play a sport other than baseball, basketball, FBS football, or men’s ice hockey;[5]
                -Have never previously transferred from a four-year institution;
                -Be academically eligible at the first institution, assuming the student-athlete had stayed; and
                -Get written notice from the first school that it does not object to the use of the one-time transfer exception.

                In addition, any athlete that graduates with eligibility remaining can enroll in a graduate program at a different school and be immediately eligible, if their original school does not object. Russell Wilson did this when he went from NC State to Wisconsin.

                There also are hardship exceptions which can lead to immediate eligibilty. The hardship transfer waiver is for student-athletes who are compelled to transfer because of financial hardship or an injury or illness to the student-athlete or a member of their family.

                http://www.ncaa.org/blog/2012/01/transfer-101/

    • actor212 says:

      Some coaches have been very successful with teams that hated them. It unifies the team against a common enemy and while you think that might be a path to dysfunction, sometimes, in some situations, it works precisely the opposite.

      Exhibit A — the first season Billy Martin managed any team.

      • Hanspeter says:

        Though there’s a difference between hating a coach because he makes you do 20 extra laps because you clipped a hurdle (or just because), and hating him because he whips relay batons at your back.

        • ninja3000 says:

          As a former champion hurdler and sprinter, I agree 100% with you. My coach screamed a lot, but don’t they all? It’s just that he screamed about my technique, not my character…

          • Shakezula says:

            I fainted once during track training. After making sure I hadn’t broken anything the coach told me off about not breathing and sent me back to the blocks. She wasn’t mean about it and yes, I did forget to breathe.

            Ditto ballet teachers. I’m very comfortable with shouters, teasers and even making your leg do something that it isn’t quite ready to doers. But that’s because they’re obviously just really passionate (crazed?) about ballet.

            I’ve heard of ones who are really passionate about making students feel like shit, but from what I understand, it is unusual and frowned upon.

            I don’t know, maybe it is all fucked up and we don’t notice because we’re mad.

        • actor212 says:

          I seriously doubt his tirades were limited to observations of a player’s hustle on the field, but I have no evidence, not even anecdotal, that speaks to what transpired in his stints as manager, except that he drove his players hard.

      • ninja3000 says:

        That was the plot of Philip Roth’s “The Great American Novel,” which I think is one of his way-underrated works.

      • Richard says:

        And much of Bobby Knight’s career. For the most part, Knight’s tactics worked. But he seems to have been a much better teacher of basketball skills and strategies than this clown and only put hands on a couple players while this guy seems to have been routinely physically assaulting his players.

        • John F says:

          FWIW Knight also was selective- he really only harassed/abused his starters/stars, if you were a role playing walk on you weren’t the target of his abuse, from what I’ve heard Rice targets everyone indiscriminately

    • Pooh says:

      I’ve played for my fair share of hardassess (not comparing mere hardassery to this obviously) and, the key is once you realize that he’s right and making you better, it’s somewhat all good. The problem is that some coaches have a problem turning it off after practice and can’t treat you like a person, but the coaches who can are the guys you’d run through a wall for.

      Also, people in this thread are CRAZY if they think the verbal stuff or even the grabbing and moving players by the front of the jersey is unusual at all. The firing balls and kicks and stuff are obviously way over the top.

      • Pooh says:

        BTW, not to defend the specifics of the verbals here, but that’s more of an issue with the specific, homophobic, language used.

      • actor212 says:

        I don’t mind hardasses when they’re right and to the point of my performance. I’ve worked in corporate America for both types of hardasses, the guys who drive you to excellence by being tough critics and the guys who think they drive you to excellence by mocking you.

        And I’ve worked with directors of both stripes, too. Sometimes, I’ve needed a good yelling at, but the second he (or she, it’s actually happened) gets personal, I walk, and don’t give a damn about a credit.

      • Shakezula says:

        This is what I tried and failed to say a few minutes ago. Must remember to review comments closely.

  4. J.W. Hamner says:

    Coaches can do whatever they want except give players free stuff… because that would be immoral.

    • Kyle says:

      The law of American organizations is:
      Big Money Attracts Big Assholes.

      It goes for big-time college sports as much as for Wall Street and corporate America.

  5. efgoldman says:

    Rather, it fires him only after the story becomes national and gives Rutgers sports a bad name. Because the latter is what’s really important.

    Don’t people like college presidents (who are supposed to be smart, after all) understand that nothing gets kept from the public any more?

    • LoriK says:

      Available evidence says “No”. Either that or they know they can’t keep a secret forever, but imagine that they can keep it under wraps until after they’ve retired and it’s no longer their problem.

      Neither of those positions is smart or realistic.

    • Cody says:

      Well they know us poor rubes can’t keep a secret.

      But them, well they’re special. They have money, so they know they’re not dumb enough not to get caught like us.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      College presidents are basically bad CEOs.

      • efgoldman says:

        Well, I wouldn’t expect any executive at any level in academia to be competent in real world skills.
        Not that I’m against tenure, but that’s surely got something to do with the management skills or lack thereof.

  6. Murc says:

    A lot of coaches think that their job isn’t just to lead a team of athletes/entertainers, but to mold boys into men. They also operate under the assumption that this molding process involves a certain degree of acceptable wastage.

    • Shakezula says:

      Dear me. It is almost as though you are suggesting a certain number of coaches are unhealthy tossers who act out their Full Metal Jacket fantasies on people who are unlikely to object.

      Surely not!

  7. JKTHs says:

    The AD should be next but won’t be.

    • drkrick says:

      The AD and anybody else who saw that tape last year (the president of the university, for starters) and didn’t push hard for a firing should go. Those, if any, who lost the argument get a pass but should argue harder the next time.

  8. Jay B. says:

    Coaching is the last vestige of the cult of abusive parenting. Well, maybe boot camp too, but that is supposed to be de-humanizing, so it’s easier to shed one’s humanity for (debatably) larger causes. But this shit that coaches push throughout athletics really just is abuse for abuse’s sake, unless you also believe that yelling, screaming, physically intimidating/hitting and belittling is also how you are supposed to parent.

    I had coaches who’d yell from time to time, but that’s also a tic of most parents, sometimes you can’t help it in the moment. But most were decent people who sought to teach and win, a couple were repulsive reptiles who garnered exactly no respect from me because they didn’t earn it. Thankfully, I was brought up right, so I’d yell back. Those kinds of coaches are just frustrated losers who try to bully kids because that’s how they were taught.

    If I ever had a coach like Rice or Bobby fucking Knight, I would have beat the fuck out of them.

    • Jay B. says:

      EDIT: I would have hoped I would have had the composure to tell them off and leave, but I would have loved to have had the opportunity to go jaw to jaw with them. Can’t fucking stand bullies.

      • Sherm says:

        If you told off a guy like Bobby Knight, chances are that you would have lost your scholarship and been labelled a trouble-maker. Your next organized game would have been at some Division II school.

        • Pooh says:

          Neil Reed.

          A player who the year before this happened took multiple charges in a game where he had separated his shoulder earlier in the game, and Knight questioned his toughness…

          • Jay B. says:

            Knight was an abomination. No different than Paterno, really. His winning and his graduation rates are admirable. They also enabled abuse, a different kind and level than molestation of course, but abuse nonetheless.

        • Jay B. says:

          Of course. I got in my high school basketball coach’s face and called him a fucking liar and told him to go fuck himself. Thankfully, I didn’t miss out on the opportunity not to be a 6’0 power forward in the pros. Still, I’d like to think that single action made me a better person than if I submitted to that douchebag for another second.

        • Lee Rudolph says:

          Obviously, the solution is more guns. (I’m actually surprised at how many bullies manage not to get shot during their entire lives. They can’t all be perfect judges of who’s safe to bully and who’s going to go postal on them.)

          • Shakezula says:

            I was raised in part by someone who, with little or no provocation, would say the most horrific things to complete strangers. And not shouted out of the window of a moving car. Face to face, toe to toe.

            How she managed to die of old age in a hospital bed is still a puzzle to the entire family.

    • spencer says:

      Well, maybe boot camp too, but that is supposed to be de-humanizing

      When I went through it, I found the fact that I knew what they were trying to do was enough to prevent it from working particularly well.

  9. Shakezula says:

    There seems to be a sector of coaches that think Bobby Knight was a good coach because he abused players.

    Bobby Knight had a winning team. Ergo his tactics (including abuse) must be good. If he got wins by giving each player a foot rub before games …

  10. Sherm says:

    Seeing the video this morning really highlighted for me how exploited the college athletes are. These kids had to take this shit from that coward because standing up to him could have resulted in losing their scholarships and forfeiting any chance they have at making it as a professional or receiving a college education.

  11. LeeEsq says:

    There is a large segment of humanity that thinks being abusive towards other people is considered a sign of love. I believe they call this “tough love.” The asshole abuser who leads people to some sort of greatness through such abuse is a well-established trope.

  12. montag2 says:

    There’s a reason why most coaches aren’t doing nuclear physics in the off-season.

  13. chaed says:

    The thing is, assholes like this guy and Bob Knight, even if they win, are missing the point of what a coach should be. I’m an assistant high school football and baseball coach. A rule that we always have is that a coach should say 3 positives for every 1 negative. I guarantee this guy was not getting the best out of his team.

    What about a coach like Dean Smith? He was the winningest coach in NCAA history when he retired, nearly all of his former players worship the guy and consider him a lifelong friend, he actually had a social conscience and was a known advocate for the Democratic Party of North Carolina and the poor. He helped integrate the ACC in the 1960s, kept up an extremely high graduation rate, and was known to advocate that his players make the early leap to the NBA if he thought they were ready, because it was in their best interest – even if it might hurt his team the next year.

    This nonsense that you have to be an asshole to reach the top of your profession is a toxic meme that gets passed around as received knowledge way too fucking much.

  14. fester says:

    I am a soccer ref who routinely works games with multiple d-1 recruits and/or d-1 coaches. The best coaches that I see are fairly quiet as long as the effort is there. The elite players tune out the screamers because the yelling is a constant, not a special signal. One quiet coach can raise his voice to roughly talking in a crowded bar before happy hour and get his entire team listening from 40 yards away because it is that unusual for him to go above “talk at the dinner table” volume

  15. I saw the footage of this guy yesterday and I’m still feeling disgust. Wondering how the parents of these players feel. I’d be livid.

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