The Norman Transcript

Columns

April 8, 2013

Coach’s rants were excused for too long

NORMAN — My Uncle Jim once told me that when he and his two brothers were kids, they used to serve Mass at the Catholic church in Burlington, Kan.

Jim said that once, when his older brother, Bob, was serving Mass by himself, he made a mistake during the service. After the Mass, the priest was so upset with Bob that the priest slapped him in the face.

When my grandmother, who was about as strict and devout as a Catholic woman could be, found out what happened, she was so furious that she walked over to the church, located the priest and — as the expression goes — ripped him a new one.

If my grandmother would do something like that to a Catholic priest, I can only imagine what she would have done to former Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice if one of her sons had been on the receiving end of one of his rants.

I’m guessing Rice would still be trying to have a basketball surgically removed.

Rice, of course, was fired Wednesday after video of him physically and verbally abusing team players in practice was made public.

The important thing to note is that Rice was fired after the video was made public. Apparently, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti first saw the video in November. After an investigation, he and university President Robert Barchi decided that, rather than fire Rice, they would suspend him for three games, fine him $75,000 and order him to attend anger management classes.

Yeah, that’ll learn him.

There are so many things wrong with this story that it’s hard to know where to begin. I guess the best place to start would be with Rice himself. I don’t know the man, but based on what I saw on the video, the guy acted like a jerk. Sure, I saw his apology the other day, and sure, he sounded sincere. But I’m not buying it. Rice said that after he watched the video of himself yanking players around the court, hurling basketballs at them and screaming obscenities and slurs, he realized “how deeply regrettable those actions were.”

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