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Mike Rice fired, Bobby Knight would be proud

Discussion in 'Colosseum' started by Beren, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Beren

    Beren Lovesick and Lonely Wanderer Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Yeah, it's been all over the news in the US for the past couple of days. Obviously unacceptable. There's nothing else to say. Saying that he "crossed the line" doesn't even begin to do justice to his actions.
     
  3. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    There is a lot about this that is typical of college sports, however. I watched some news show yesterday where the "talking heads" shook their heads and clucked their tongues at footage of him on the bench during games, where he cursed out referees, confronted players, and stuck his finger into people's chests as he confronted them. They can act like he's abnormal all they want, but that just means they don't watch much college basketball or football (many of the pros are just as bad, and I've seen high-school coaches are are similar).

    This "hyper-intensity" or whatever it is, that seems to be not just condoned but encouraged amongst atheletic coaches, is bizarre. It seems to be that grown men can act in what I would call a very unprofessional manner because they "care" so much, or are so "intense." All sorts of coaches all over the country throw tantrums, scream, yell, and complain like 3-year-olds who can't have dessert. What I see are 50-year-old men who cannot control their emotions, publically act like children, and lack all perspective not just about their profession but about their public appearance.

    When I was a kid and I played basketball (i.e., when I was 13), I thought Bobby Knight was so incredibly knowledgeable and intense that his "pros" outweighed his "cons." I probably thought that in no small part because I had a high-school coach who was renowned throughout the state for his own sharp tongue, physical manner regarding his own players, and intense and aggressive manner during games--and who himself idolized Bobby Knight. (That coach, incidentally, threw balls at us during practices, cursed us out, and physically yanked us around the court in order to get us into the correct positions for drills. Similar to the behavior of drill-sergeants which I later experienced). By the time I was 20, I thought Bobby Knight was a boob who acted like a child, and that high-school coach had retired into relative obscurity. There were many coaches who don't resort to those tactics. But there are many who do, and are rewarded handsomely for it.
     
  4. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    As regards perspective, I've long felt this about most all sports programs - even professional ones. The college football team isn't saving lives. They're playing football. No matter how you slice it, in the end, they are still just running around a field chasing a ball. I like sports (almost) as much as the next guy, but I never lose sight of the fact that they don't matter. Therefore I don't cry over losses etc. like you literally see some people do. So yeah, this coach guy getting all riled up about ... anything having to do with the basketball program is silly when looked at in perspective.

    All that said, what was the big deal with this? I did see some video where he threw a ball at a student and shoved another from behind or something, and he called someone a fairy or f*g. Is all that really so bad, or did I miss something much worse? The students will surely run into a lot worse physical danger on the court during games. And the 'names will never hurt me' thing must apply as far as that goes.
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    The video Beren posts are only his more usual antics. I have seen video where he throws basketballs at his players' HEADS at point blank range, (which can cause injury) kicks they from behind (ditto, especially when you don't see it coming), and it is generally considered very unprofessional to call anyone these days a f*g or c*cksucker as he has done repeatedly. Gay slurs don't really fly anymore if you haven't noticed. He definitely crossed the line.
     
  6. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Well what is "the line," really? Is it some specific thing, or are we all entitled to decide our threshold for offendedness? Insults about being soft (in whatever colorful language a coach might choose) have long been a motivational tool for sports programs, haven't they?

    Also, is it known if he ever actually injured any students with kicks, ball-throws, etc.?

    I'm still not having an "OH my GOD!" moment here.
     
  7. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Rice's actions have been used by coaches throughout the history of sports. It hasn't been until the last few years that it has become a big deal. Being a High School athelete, I feel what this guy did is nothing compared to what coaches did to us in high School. Hell, you should of seen our wrestling coach. Talk about intense. I have no harsh feelings against any of my coaches throughout my life. They do everything they can to toughen you up so you can be mentally prepared to get the job done in crunch time. That is a given going into joining the sport at a higher level. I would have a hard time complaining about it to a coach's higher-ups knowing what I was getting myself into beforehand. Not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just stating that is how I feel.
     
  8. Vorona

    Vorona Shadow-Whisperer

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    I'm not a big sports fan, but I think it's unprofessional. I understand the reasoning behind it (i.e. the other team's fans will do this to you, so I'm preparing you). In the article, it said that athletes who were self-motivated do better with coaches who favor a more democratic approach, while those who lack motivation are the ones who do well with this kind of coach. So my question is: why do we want to favor the athletes who lack motivation?

    As for fairy and f*g: I think it's less of a problem for the athletes (assuming they're not actually homosexual) than for gays. The fact is that being attracted to men does not instantly make men "soft" or in other ways less able to play sports. As a female, I always twinge when one boy tells another he "runs like a girl." Excuse me? Isn't that implying that girls can't run well? Even though I'm not gay, I feel the same way about using "gay" (or equivalents) to equate to sub-standard performance. I'd also feel that way if I heard a woman tell another woman, "You ... like a man." (To be honest, I can't think of a single situation in which this would be negative EXCEPT to be implying that she's not feminine enough . . . which is NOT the same thing. If someone else can, please let me know! Even "You share feelings like a guy" doesn't sound all that bad.)

    In other words, it's not just an insult to the player, but to all members of the denigrated group (in this case, gays).

    Finally, I think the coach should be respectful of the players, and vice versa. I think it's fine to be "hard" and to demand the players' best, but not by using violence or insults. In my opinion, if it takes violence or insults to make someone "perform," they're better off doing something else that they're more interested/invested in. Better for them and better for the team (who will then replace them with someone who does care).
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Well, the insults are common practice - I seriously doubt the coach would be fired for simply hurling gay slurs at his players. Practically every guy in the world has been called a "fag" at some point in his life. Likewise, nearly every guy in the world has called someone a "fag". As a guy, having your sexuality called into question during your adolescence and young adulthood is an age-old custom and has practically become part of the rite of passage into adulthood. And while it's an obvious gay slur, most of the time it was used you had no reason to suspect that the person being called a "fag" was actually gay. And it's not like foul language on the court or in the locker room is in any way unusual in sports on even the high school level. So on this part - yes - you are entitled to your own threshold of offendedness. (Is that even a word?)

    But it's here where your train of thought goes off the tracks. I don't know if any of the students were injured in any significant way, but it doesn't matter. What I do know is that having a basketball traveling at high velocity strike your head, or being knocked to the ground from behind HURTS. And rule #1 at all levels of education from preschool on up is you never lay a hand on a student. When you strike someone, be it with a ball, your hands, or your feet, if it was deliberate and a reasonable person would conclude that such a strike could cause injury, it is assault - regardless of whether or not the person struck was injured in any significant way. It's a criminal act in much the same way trying to shoot someone and missing is a criminal act. The law doesn't reward someone for being a poor shot, and the law doesn't reward someone who didn't strike quite hard enough to cause serious injury.

    But to get back to your question about where the line is, I agree that there is no clear demarcation of what is too far. I never played college sports - and certainly not in a high end program like basketball at a Division I university. But every single person you talk to who has done it - even former athletes that they interview - suggests to me that most of the sports world agrees that actions to the degree of Rice's are not seen at the collegiate or professional level, and thus are "over the line" by just about everyone's standards. You, of course, can have your own standard for what you consider to be offensive - you can't make yourself be offended if you're not. But when the vast majority of people feel it is wrong - including former athletes - you can expect that there will a consensus ruling, and your ass is going to fired.

    I don't know about "well", but it is certainly stating that girls cannot run as fast as boys. The only problem with using that as a comparison is that it is generally true from about age 12 and onward. There is a reason why young girls and boys compete together on things like little league and soccer teams, but are segregated into boys and girls teams in high school, and mens and womens teams in the college and the pros. Once puberty kicks in the boys do get bigger, stronger, and faster than the girls. It's not sexist to suggest this - it's a matter of biology. So the comparison only works when placed into context. If we're talking about a 6-year old boy and a 6-year old girl with similar levels of fitness, there's no reason to suspect that the boy will run faster. Change the ages to 16, and there's every reason to suspect the boy will run faster.
     
  10. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    My perspective is that it is unprofessional, bullying, and unbefitting the behavior of an adult who is probably being paid in excess of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year to coach basketball. That's what is wrong with it, in my eyes. And I would extend that far beyond just Rice. Technically, throwing a basketball at the back of someone's head because they piss you off is probably assault. So should Rice get prosecuted? Heck, no one is even talking about that.

    In the military you absolutely can't get away with behavior like throwing things at people, attempting to intimidate and scare them, calling into question their sexual behavior, shoving them around, and physically and emotionally confronting them in a hyper-aggressive manner every time you disagree with them. It's unprofessional, ignorant, counter-productive, and against about 100 different regulations, laws, and lines of U.S. code. In fact, now we have a term for it--"toxic leadership"--and everyone I'm aware of who has been called a "toxic leader" hasn't done hardly any of the stuff that Rice did. If a 24-year-old squad leader, a 38-year-old battalion commander, or a 50-year-old 3-star general can't do that kind of stuff to soldiers, in environments where actions will make the difference between life and death (and where no one is getting paid nearly as much as a college basketball coach), why can a frickin' college basketball coach get away with it?

    Here's a question: in 2006 I was in Iraq and my unit detained hundreds of Iraqis. I absolutely knew some of them were AQI cell-leaders, hard-core terrorists who cut the heads off of secular Iraqis who just wanted to live as normal a life as possible, and who tried to kill as many Americans as possible in as many ways as possible. Under my leadership, even these terrorists were not struck, shouted at, or demeaned in any way that I could prevent while we held them, interrogated them, and moved them through the justice system. I was not just following applicable laws; I believe I was doing the right thing. So why should it be okay for a college basketball coach in America to go and do that kind of crap to a bunch of college kids?

    Would you want that to have been your kid?
     
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  11. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It is common for a coach to strike players with balls, pads, etc... during practice drills. There are tons of tools coaches use for this type of drill. Usually it is to teach them concentration as they will be cathcing shoulders and elbows when cutting down the lane in a game. I do admit it could also be from the coach being an a-hole if he is throwing a basketball at their head with force, but the point still is it depends on the situation. If you think a coach should never lay a hand on a student in practice, don't go to a wrestling practice. It's part of the sport.

    This was a COLLEGE practice. Using pads and balls to fire your guys up while in the middle of an intense practice is not a big deal. Shoving them by the head while screaming at them after the play is another matter though, as are the use of gay slurs, as they are pretty much a no-no these days. But I still have to laugh at the coverage this crap gets in the media these days. To me, it's not media worthy. Definitely not news worthy of national news programs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  12. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    This might have been acceptable when Bobby Knight was coaching Indiana, but I doubt it would be acceptable any time after that. Standards of acceptable behavior change. For example, when I first got to school, it was actually OK for a teacher to hit a kid. That changed very quickly and now the teacher would get fired (after a lengthy paid leave for investigation -- go teachers' union!) and the school would get sued.

    I believe that the sports programs have evolved much slower than everything else because of the fixation on winning and the (mistaken, IMO) belief that a "tough" coach brings the most out of the kids.

    I won't repeat what others have said, but I will just say that if one of those kids in the video were MY kid, and I found out about it, I'd most likely march my way into the coach's presence, hurl a basketball at him while screaming imprecations at him, ask him how he liked it, and see what happened.

    Just sayin'.
     
  13. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I hear that DMC. I admit I probably would too. But that would be emotion overtaking reasoning with regret and guilt stepping in after the act was done. It's a tough call...
     
  14. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    True; they're just conventional/stereotypical names for being 'soft.' I don't think we can safely assume that coach hates homosexuals. Insensitive? Sure. Is it his job not to offend anyone? I'm not so sure.

    Well sure, in the very strict sense. But there are many inconsistencies regarding these 'rules.' In the same strict sense, any attack from one person upon another should legally be defined as assault, not just a coach on a student, but we don't see hockey players being arrested and prosecuted when they fight. Or even baseball players when they get in their silly group shoving matches. (Those should probably be disorderly conduct. ;)) Or when someone takes an elbow to the face and gets their nose smashed, they don't sue the offender for reckless endangerment. My point is just that there's a slippery slope all around this.

    That's what I'm suspicious of here though. No one knew this was an issue until the video went public? I suspect PR shenanigans and damage control are at the heart of this, not moral outrage from the university.

    I thought drill sergeants of old had a long, proud tradition of doing exactly all that. ;)

    I'm not sure that not abusing prisoners and not throwing balls at sports program students are really anywhere near the same world. What you were doing was serious business, and the highest ethical conduct was absolutely needed, whereas this stuff with coach is just sports. I don't mean that to sound disrespectful at all; in fact quite the opposite.

    Blades' wrestling coach would probably casually bat the ball away, put you in friendly headlock, ruffle your hair, and say "aw settle down, big fella." ;)
     
  15. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    I've actually written quite a little about my experiences in basic training in this thread, several times, which I've deleted. Suffice it to say, you are somehat right--drill sergeants in particular have a harsh reputaton as rough, abusive, overly aggressive "molders of young men" into cold-blooded killers. ;) But, at least in the U.S. Army, abuse is no longer acceptable. Things happen, stress is quite high in basic training (or what the Marines call boot camp), and to be honest, sometimes the abuse that trainees heap on one another is more reprehensible than what bad trainers might do. But physically assaulting recruits or sexually harrassing them is illegal and drill sergeants have been made into long-term inhabitants of the prison at Leavenworth for it.

    This kind of behavior is somewhat more common in a basic training environment than it is in "regular" units, I'll give you that. But that doesn't mean it's condoned. People are prosecuted for it. It is much more uncommon, notable, and even more scorned when it happens, in "normal" units (i.e., where all soldiers spend 90% or more of their time in their careers).

    I certainly agree with you in one respect: we take sport too seriously as a people in this country. (And this from a life-long Celtics fan who almost cried, while in Iraq my second time, when the Celts won the 2008 NBA championship!)

    But...why can't basketball coaches also treat their players in a professional manner?

    I guess I'm just saying that at some point we as a society should get more serious about treating people in the right way, and holding our so-called leaders responsible. I absolutely understand what Blades said about throwing balls at people (or doing other things, like many football drills) in order to sharpen their reflexes, quicken their hands, mentally prepare them for distraction, etc (I played varsity football and basketball, I went to summer sports camps where we spent most of our time doing drills, I spent 6 years in the infantry sometimes relentlessly training in marksmanship, hand-to-hand combatives, etc--I mean, I really, truly grasp and believe in the importance of "hard" training methods in order to build confidence, muscle memory, neural pathways, etc).

    But being in an authority position and then throwing a basketball at the back of someone's head as they are walking away from you? That's not training. That's abuse.
     
  16. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on degree here (wow that was a tongue twister ;)) ... I might jump in with you if coach actually slugged somebody in the jaw or kicked him in the kidneys while he was down or some such. I just can't get too excited about the whole ball thing.

    Anyway, point taken nonetheless on all the above. I put considerable stock in your opinions, since you've worn the shoes as it were.

    In answer to this, I'll just say they certainly can, and maybe even should, and probably most often do. But when they don't, I don't see it as such a big deal absent any 'real' transgressions - head trauma from beanings, shoulder trauma from shovings, ass trauma from kickings, secret plots to destroy gays or whatever is done through the casual use of slurs, etc.
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    OK, but in that case, you're probably attempting to teach them something. Yes, in practice and certainly during competition there is going to be contact, but chances are your opponent is not going to throw a ball full-force at your head, nor is he going to kick you or knock you down from behind. (And if he does, it will only happen once as he'll be ejected.) The one video I saw shows Rice throwing a ball at a guy's groin - what the hell?

    But they ARE punished. And I think that's the point. Hockey players in a brawl are typically given 5-minute majors, meaning their team is down a man for 5 minutes, but the "major" at the end includes being thrown out of the game. With baseball players, in addition to being thrown out you are typically also suspended for several games. So fighting during the game is hurting your team.

    That kind of stuff happens, but usually it isn't with the intent to break someone's nose. And if the referees determine it was intentional, then refer to the previous paragraph.

    I agree with that, although I will offer one plausible explanation. The players are reliant upon the coach for their scholarship. You don't really get a 4-year scholarship - you get up to 4 one-year scholarships. If the coach cuts you from the team, you lose that scholarship. In the case of assistant coaches, they also have their jobs at the coach's discretion. So that may have been an instance of not wanting to get fired.
     
  18. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Penalties/suspensions within the game context are not really comparable to criminal prosecution though surely. Or should we have coach spend five minutes sitting behind plexiglass and call it even? ;)
     
  19. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Of course they aren't comparable, but that wasn't really the point. The point was because they take place on the field of play, they are refereed. They are overseen. They are regulated. That's the difference, and that's why actions on the field of play are kept in check. The only people who see what goes on in practice are the players and the coaching staff. As previously noted, because of a desire to keep their scholarships or maintain employment, these people are the least likely to speak up.
     
  20. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    I'll be up front here. I hated sports in high school. I hated the mindset. And I haven't changed.

    I do not buy into this BS that just because a kid wants to play on a sports team it means that the coaching staff -- or other players -- can abuse them. All of this "team buliding" excuse for such ignorant, macho BS is just that -- BS. it is an excuse for the strong to pick on the weak. I have never and will never buy into the whole "gotta toughen 'em up" line of reasoning. As was mentioned earlier, it's guys chasing a ball or puck. The best day of my life (up until that point, anyway) was my last day of Grade 10 Physical Education, where the subliterate thug who was my gym teacher had his last crack at me. My time in prison was done and I never had to take another class with those arrogant, tinplated wanna-be soldiers again.

    I wouldn't want my kid involved in any of that nonsense, and as has been mentioned by others, Mike Rice is not an unusual case, I think. He just happened to get caught. And as I type this, I guarantee some douchebag coaches are saying "yeah, other people don't understand about how it is we roll here!" and acting as if they are somehow superior because they can bully and demean someone for failing to catch a piece of rubber. Real heroes, those guys.
     
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