NBA Stars Comment on Rutgers Basketball Scandal

By Thomas Duffy
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Rice, the head coach of Rutgers University Men’s Basketball team, was fired this week after videos surfaced of RU practices. Rice was shown beaming players with basketballs, physically pushing them, and calling them homophobic slurs.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned shortly after Rice was fired. Pernetti saw the videos, which first aired on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, last year but instead of firing Rice, suspended the coach for three games and had him attend anger management classes.

The videos can be seen below, and they are really quite disturbing. Rice is shown being extremely abusive of his players, but apparently the head coach wasn’t the only one. Assistant coach Jimmy Martelli was nicknamed “baby Rice,” by some of the Scarlet Knights because he exhibited similar behavior towards players. Martelli used the same homophobic slurs as Rice, and also engaged in physical confrontations.

Understandably, this news rocked the basketball world. The public consensus was, of course, that Rice and everyone else involved was way out of line, and some NBA players chimed in their thoughts on the news through Twitter.

LeBron James had the most notable tweet, saying that he would “whoop” Coach Rice.

James’ teammate, Ray Allen, told the Palm Beach Post: “I mean, it was just despicable,” Allen said. “Not only as a parent, but I think about where I went, the places I’ve gone in my career, my parents kind of lent me to all these other people. I’ve been raised not only by Mom and Dad, but by several coaches, AAU coaches, high school coaches and then my college coach, and all of them had a hand in getting me to who I am today. And not to mention the teachers that I grew up under, learning, so we trust in the people we lend our kids off to, to help them grow. And I only hope when I let my kids go, there’s somebody watching them and growing and making sure they do that.”

“What I’ve seen in that video was despicable. It made me want to fight, it made me want to fight this guy, watching him throw the ball at those players. Because that’s me, wanting to learn, you make mistakes, you’re not doing it on purpose, you’re trying to learn. And that’s what coaches should do, you teach. Yelling at kids and throwing balls at them, there’s no place for that.”

Stephen Curry tweeted this when the videos first aired:

David West tagged the CBS story, and called Rice “a bully and a monster.”

Finally, Jared Sullinger said that he’d rather ride than bench than take that kind of abuse from a coach.

As you can see, Rice is not very popular in the world of basketball right now, and rightfully so.

For more from Thomas Duffy, follow him on Twitter @ThomasDuffyNBA for articles, news, and all things NBA.

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