Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Usually Andrew solicits my opinion; I’m going to solicit his opinion. I thought that one of the guys that wrote about “Just how angry do we need to get about a coach with anger issues,” I thought one of the writers in this — there was a forum that The Atlantic held and they talked about this. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Usually Andrew solicits my opinion; I’m going to solicit his opinion. I thought that one of the guys that wrote about “Just how angry do we need to get about a coach with anger issues,” I thought one of the writers in this — there was a forum that The Atlantic held and they talked about this. I thought that the Hampton, whoever the Hampton guy is:
I can’t defend Rice’s actions as a coach, but still find it hard to stomach the national reflex for outrage, and demands that everyone fall on their sword, as Pernetti did today.
Mike: Pernetti was the AD, right?
What Rice did was bad. No doubt. But it wasn’t off-the-charts, beyond-the-pale, rabid craziness. Right after CBS aired their segment on Rice, after all, they aired a commercial for Applebee’s with Bobby Knight joking about throwing a chair. Where, one wonders, was the moral outrage when the network cashed that check?
Obviously coaches can’t make players run wind-sprints naked. But coaches do have to be able to make players run normal wind-sprints, or make them do laps, or push-ups or something. Coaches must exert some form of discipline. The giant flap over Rice’s case seems to have become a touchstone for our changing norms about what kind of discipline our society is going to find acceptable. That’s a good conversation for us to have. But the way we are going about it still seems cruel and smug.
Mike: This Hampton guy wonders how come there was no outpouring of compassion for the sickness or for whatever it was that had bedeviled Coach Rice? Why didn’t someone just recommend, other words —
A little compassion would be nice. Mike Rice didn’t kill or rape anyone. Rice was under huge pressure to win at a school moving to the Big 10. He wasn’t winning. He had some psychological issues. In December, the school suspended him for three games, fined him $50,000, and ordered him to get anger management counseling. That is the appropriate response. Now the incident is being portrayed like some kind of massive cover-up at a College Gone Wild, and we are told that only a purge at the top can restore order.
Rice isn’t a cruel, frothing madman who lives to torment 19-year old point guards. He’s a human being. You cited the president on manhood Jake, but Rice and wife Kerry seem to do a perfectly fine job of raising their two children.
Agreed, the coach deserved to lose his job. He does not deserve to become a national object of scorn for the viral mob, a symbol for bully coaches everywhere, and fodder for debate about What it Means to be a Man. He deserves a chance to get help, and change his life like anyone else.
Mike: Do you think Coach Rice is going to get any help? Coach Rice is probably done.
AG: He’s absolutely finished. I disagree with the last part. He absolutely does deserve to be a standard bearer for bullying coaches. Once you do that and you put your hands on a student, even though he’s an athlete, it’s a teacher-student relationship. You can’t put your hands on the kids. That’s way over the line. I’ve had basketballs chucked at me in high school and college and seen that happen with teammates. I didn’t have an issue with that. When you put your hands on the students or you call them gay slurs, that’s ridiculously over the line. I have no problem with Pernetti being fired and the president if he chose not to even watch the video. Can him as well.
ESPN Outside the Line, which is the show that kind of got ahold of the videotapes, did a follow-up yesterday. I think the sports reporters commented. They had one of the Rutgers teachers. She basically said: If we started throwing chalkboards at students who didn’t do well on tests or verbally abuse them, there would be no question as to our employment. Before we took another breath, we’d be fired. To have that as across the line, they shouldn’t be treated any differently because they’re athletes. I would agree with that. Rice wasn’t a very good coach. He’s a fake tough guy. At the same time, you can’t expect the athletes and students to do anything. The responsibility falls on the bosses of the coach. When they see that kind of behavior, you have to can them or else you get canned. It’s somewhat embarrassing that Pernetti is going to get a million-and-a-quarter buyout.
Mike: Golden parachute.
AG: He’s not a tough guy, not a good coach, and I’d have no problem with the Rutgers president getting canned as well.
Mike: There you have it, folks. I wonder out loud, though, if this is not yet another symptom of a society that just cannot find its way.
AG: Discipline, Mike, is not —
AG: Bench a player. How you discipline kids in athletics is that you don’t play them. That’s how you do it.
Mike: If they’re on the team to play, then the incentive to get them to do something is to not allow them to play.
AG: Right. You don’t call them gay slurs and hit them or push them or kick them or do whatever you think you can do physically to intimidate them. It’s just embarrassing. I really have no problem if Rice is the poster boy for bullying coaches, because that’s exactly what he is. He’s a fake tough guy. It’s an embarrassment.
Mike: I wonder out loud, as this situation unfolds and the fallout continues, what would Vince Lombardi do? WWVLD, what would Vince Lombardi do? Can you imagine Lombardi getting in Bart Star or Paul Horning or any of the gladiatorial members of the former Green Bay Packers doing what Rice has been videotaped in doing? Here’s the other question: Was it necessary for Lombardi to have done what Rice did in order to get Horning and company to play? I think the obvious answer is no, but why? Is it possible that in generations gone by that because college athletics were viewed as an extension or they existed as — we talked about this last week, that college athletics existed as part of the curriculum. It was an extension of what you did at school. It wasn’t why you went to school, it was an extension of why you went to school. It was part of it. It was just one of my courses. I play basketball or I play football. Today, though, it is the sole reason that many young men go off to school and young women go off to school, why it is that they’re there to start with. There is a different expectation.
I like your use of the term discipline. When you used to study, let’s go back 100 years, and you studied something rigorously, you were studying a what? You may not have researched this or have read this so I’ll fill it in for you. You were studying a discipline. You were disciplined in law, for example. You were disciplined in medicine or engineering. You were there to receive discipline. That’s what higher education is. It’s a discipline. It’s meant to teach you the difference between being able to use reason and logic and solve problems because you have acquired skills. Through the applied arts, you have acquired skills that allow you to do so. You have to be disciplined. You have to be able to exclude things, because you have been trained to do so, that cannot possibly be the answer. It requires discipline.
Is it of the discipline that we see the videotape of the Rutgers coach? Do you make a young man better by humiliating him? Especially when you’re in an enclosed environment like that, it’s not like those videotapes were ever supposed to be public. It’s not as though they were going to become training films. I have to wonder, and maybe you know the answer to this, did Rice not know that they were videotaping his practices?
AG: No, he would have known. You normally videotape every practice.
Mike: I would think that you would know. How did he ever get the idea that that was acceptable, that that behavior was acceptable or warranted?
AG: That’s where the latest unfolding of the story in terms of extortion and whether the guy who made the videotapes tried to extort from Rutgers or Rice or Pernetti cash or other gifts in exchange for not giving out the videos.
Mike: Now we have the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head.
End Mike Church Show Transcript