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Saturday, April 6, 2013

What Happened in Jersey???

Family –

It’s taken some time for me to get back to the pad and pen and it seems that it’s none too soon given what’s been going on in sports recently.

Let’s tackle the obvious first… what the hell was Rutgers thinking? Short of committing Rice to a mental institution for rehabilitation there was no fix for that situation. It’s obvious that Pernetti was acting in the best interest of the student-athletes AND the university but he was basically told to sit down and shut up… what was he supposed to do?

Wait… what?

Isn’t the primary job of the athletic department to keep its most valuable assets safe? I mean let’s be real here… it ain’t like Rutgers was on the verge of winning a national title in basketball or even contending for anything less than a 15 seed  in the NCAA tournament… so what’s the issue with replacing an abusive psychopath?

I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that you’ve all seen the videotape footage. What the…? If he wasn’t throwing a basketball at them he was grabbing them or shoving them and in some cases kicking them.  I can’t even imagine what the verbal abuse was like. I think what’s most impressive is the fact that the athletes never fought back…. that my dear friends is a sign of extreme fear. Not fear in the sense of being afraid of him physically, but afraid of riding the bench if you stand up to him… afraid that the university wouldn’t back you up… I mean, if the university doesn’t back the AD what leg does an 18-19 year-old student-athlete have to stand on? Otherwise Rice would have been dropped like a cigarette butt.

Think about it for a minute. 

You’re a division one college basketball player. You have classes, lunch, maybe a tutorial and then you have to go to a place that you’re deathly afraid of and endure hours of physical, mental and emotional abuse….knowing that every day would yield the same outcome. What must the mental state of those young men be like? I can’t watch the video without honestly becoming angrily emotional myself.

The first thing Rutgers needs to do is seek counseling for those young men so they can move forward and be productive in their lives. Secondly, the NCAA needs to allow those young men to leave the university without penalty or question given what they’ve endured. Which I think is part of the process when a head coach leaves. I mean, who did Rice think he was? How could he come into a parents’ home, praise there son, promise to protect him, offer him a scholarship and then use him for a personal whipping post?

Something’s missing… as much as I hate to agree with the spineless president of Rutgers University, “Why was nothing ever reported before?” Oh wait… there was an assistant coach (Eric Murdock) who told the athletic department about Rice’s behavior after he was fired and later filed a wrongful termination claim against Rutgers for $950K… but I’m guessing that was dismissed as a disgruntled action right?

I’m not going to continue to beat the dead horse because it’s all out in the open now… but I couldn’t keep quiet about it… I’ve seen some pretty intense things…even at Notre Dame and in the pros… but there’s no way the administration should have allowed what happened to happen without some type of reparation for those student-athletes… never.

Wake up people… sport is in a bad way right now… between the money, coaches’ egos and the driving pressure to win somehow we’ve lost focus on what sport was created to teach – commitment, togetherness, integrity, discipline AND love.

What the hell are we doing?