Finally, someone has agreed that it’s not a good thing to have an adult COACH belittle, verbally abuse, and denigrate his players by screaming explicative’s, throwing balls at their heads and faces, and using homophobic slurs to describe their performance. Thank goodness I have lived long enough for someone to stand up and say that this type of COACHING is not acceptable behavior. Unfortunately, as a Baby Boomer, I’ve seen this scenario dozens of times in dozens of situations, and the only good thing that has come out of it for me is that I am passionate about anti-bullying.
Mike’s dad, also a basketball stand-out, has the dubious distinction of being the only ANNOUNCER ever thrown out of a game by the NBA. It seems to me that the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree. Problem is, in Mike Senior’s life-time, coaches; were given a free ride when it came to this type of abuse. How many times have I seen even midget football coaches dragging their players around by the face masks, screaming expletives at them and acting like idiots on the sidelines? Short answer? Too many. It was almost as if many of the coaching playbooks had suggestions like this: Belittle, malign, demean, debase and humiliate your team because that will make them men.
Unfortunately, in certain circumstances, that was all that the players had ever experienced and then, they became coaches themselves, and not unlike an abused child who knows no other way to impart discipline, they continued the circle of abuse with their players. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met orchestral conductors, math teachers and bosses who did everything but throw the ball in your face, too, and the result? Well, sometimes the team won the championship, but decades later when they get together to discuss their abusive coaches they say things like, “Yeah, we won, but he was a jerk.”
I’m not sure what human behavior specialists, or even animal right activists say about these types of leaders, but I’ve seen it in the operating room, in traffic jams, at lines in the airport and even in fancy restaurants. When frustration levels go up, some folks in charge retaliate by attacking, and when they get caught, they are flabbergasted. “What did I do wrong?” they say. (I’m sure that they probably were treated even worse.)
So, where does Mike Rice go now? He was a Divison 1 coach . . . maybe the university in Florida that named their stadium after the company that owns for-profit prisons, the same company that has been written up numerous times for abusing prisoners, maybe they will want to hire him? Just think, if Sadam Hussein hadn’t been taken out, his professional soccer players were tortured and beaten if they lost games. Mike would probably have fit in well in Afghanistan, the Middle East or parts of Africa where beheading, limb removal and torture are still the norm.
Oh, wait a minute, didn’t one of Notre Dame’s coaches get reprimanded for abusing players, in “Under The Tarnished Dome,” this book said that Holtz . . . abused his players at Notre Dame to the point of spitting in one’s face. And isn’t he now a highly paid sports commentator? Maybe that’s Mike’s ticket? To once again, follow in his father’s footsteps and become a commentator for the NBA? Beat up kids and become a talking head.
Seriously, I have no idea what is going to have to happen to get people like this out of the business of education, coaching or youth anything, but it does seem to me that ESPN should continue to broadcast videos like this one and, not unlike when the KKK was exposed by the media , these abusive people would have their moment of fame.
As a teacher, when things didn’t go well, it was because of ME, not them.