Staff Editorial 4/11: Coaches should mentor, not bully

Last Wednesday, the Rutgers basketball head coach Mike Rice was fired after the release of a video showing him throwing basketballs at his players, physically abusing them, and yelling degrading slurs.

However, Rice was not fired on the spot. He was initially only suspended for three games, fined and ordered to enroll in anger management classes.

Then, the video went viral, and the public became outraged that the university kept Rice as the head coach. Soon after, the athletic director resigned, and an assistant coach resigned.

Now, Rutgers wants the university president Robert Barchi to follow suit and leave. More than 50 professors have signed a petition for the firing of Barchi, but the president has yet to be ousted.

Being a student-athlete is a demanding commitment that can entail aggressive coaching tactics. But, there is a difference between aggressive coaching and abusive coaching. Rice crossed the line a long time ago.

Professional NBA superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant agree.

James tweeted, “If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that, he would have some real explaining to do, and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon.”

Bryant’s tweet followed, “That’s not coaching, that’s a power trip. At a minimum, it’s horrible coaching.”

If professional athletes are shocked at the way Rice treated his team, then that goes to show how absurd his coaching style is.

There is no need for a coach to abuse his power in order to gain the respect of his players.

Although the video made its way through social media and national television in the last few weeks, Rice must have been abusing of his players months before that. This coaching style didn’t happen overnight.

It’s a problem when student-athletes are being mistreated and choose to stay silent because they fear the consequences of speaking, don’t know who to speak out to, know their voices won’t matter, or think it’s OK.

Rice’s job was to coach a team of student-athletes who decided to attend Rutgers University to play basketball. His job wasn’t to call them fa***ts, hit them or hurl objects at their faces to “motivate them” to be better players.

Rice did everything but coach his team. The players at Rutgers deserve a coach that mentors, not a bully that demoralizes.


Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.