Rutgers Goes the ‘Better Late Than Never’ Route with Head Coach Mike Rice
The now infamous video of Mike Rice throwing basketballs, using homophobic slurs and generally berating Rutgers Scarlet Knights players has gone more than just viral. The video, which Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti saw months ago, has finally cost Rice his job.
Apparently, Pernetti went the better late than never route. Not only did Pernetti only suspend Rice for three games when the incident occurred, but backed the man on national TV. Ironically, the backing was coming on the heels of Pernetti being nominated for an athletic director of the year award. I can only assume the requirements for such award were helping set tolerance and physical abuse standards back decades.
This is an instance of Pernetti choosing sports’ money over tolerance, equal rights and protection of children. It wasn’t until social media destroyed Rice that Pernetti decided to call a meeting and then fire his coach. Even more baffling of Pernetti’s decision, outside of going on TV and acting a fool, was his decision to back an unsuccessful coach during a huge scandal.
Rice was not exactly setting the world on fire in New Jersey. If Pernetti was to fire him for the quality of program alone, nobody would have questioned him. Add homophobic slurs and physical abuse to the equation — one would think Rice’s firing months ago would have been as simple as apple pie.
Now the university president has a decision to make. Whether a person who thought physically abusing children and using slurs only deserved a three game suspension, should be fired. The answer to that should be, yes. Rutgers has to move past this scandal as quickly as possible and show the nation that they will not tolerate intolerance.
If it took the Internet to let Pernetti know that Rice had to go, well, I think it is safe to say that he shouldn’t have a job with power or one that helps look over kids.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone