Fired Rutgers Coach Guiding Girls AAU? That’s Deplorable
So what’s one of the most abusive, homophobic and misogynistic coaches in this country going to do after he gets canned in the wake of a national controversy?
Hey, Mike Rice, is that you coaching an AAU team of 12- and 13-year-old girls?
Mull that over for a sec and try not to puke.
Rice, fired as head men’s basketball coach by Rutgers University for his bombastic implosions during practice — including firing basketballs at players’ heads — has been allowed to keep his gig coaching au AAU girls team in Holmdel, N.J. Rice’s daughter plays on the team, and Rice has been coaching the team since his tenure at Rutgers.
Hey, why not? He’s got the time and money, since Rutgers University just reached a $475,000 settlement agreement as part of the divorce proceedings.
And he certainly has the style, since Rice is such a lovely role model for young children with a vocabulary that includes the despicable “C” word to berate his players. It’s all on the videotape released by a former director of player development, eventually leading to Rice’s dismissal on April 3 just days after the video went viral.
“If it’s awful for boys, how is it acceptable that he coach girls?” asked Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a former Olympian, rape survivor and now the senior director of advocacy at Women’s Sports Foundation in Jacksonville, Fla.
The poignant question obviously got lost in the misguided justification process of the AAU program in Holmdel. In fact, it seems they would just as soon this dirty little secret stay between them.
Various reporters — including myself — have tried to reach out to those AAU officials since Brian Geltzeiler, founder of hoopscritic.com, blasted out a series of tweets on April 14 outing Rice.
Instead, phone calls and e-mails have not been returned.
Perhaps they are strong believers in second chances. Or maybe just embarrassed.
“One of my moles is watching Mike Rice coach 12-year-old girls at Holmdel High in N.J. right now as crazy as ever, yelling both refs and kids,” Geltzeiler wrote in one of the tweets.
One of the parents recently told the New York Daily News that they have no issues with Rice. “He’s a very passionate guy,” said the parent, requesting anonymity, “and he runs a very structured program.”
The thing is, Rice’s definition of “passion” includes playing dodgeball, using his players’ faces as target practice.
This man has no business coaching at any level.
Any chance at redemption begins with extensive therapy and anger management classes, not to mention apologies to every single player — male, female, whatever age — that he has treated like scum.
But to presume that the “road to redemption” includes coaching adolescent girls is insulting and infuriating.
“I don’t know why he would be different with young, powerless girls than he would be with older young men,” Hogshead-Maker said. “I read a lot of stories about the whole thing, and a lot of issues that were brought up included the homophobic and physical altercations, but few people were calling him out for calling his players women, or you (bleep) or you (bleep).”
Those bleeps are the most vile words you can call a woman.
Belittling women, making them feel guilty, piling on with harsh words, are all part of a culture that makes them feel less than human. Hogshead-Maker had to face up to her own personal demons of insecurity — “What did I do wrong?” — as she struggled to find her way back from that rape when she was 19 years old.
Mike Rice cultivates all those horrible stereotypes in his coaching methods. And yet he is deemed a leader and role model for adolescent women.
Ain’t that a bleep.