Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 11/16/14
The recent developments at Rutgers have been a stain on what should be the most exciting time of the year in college basketball. A superb March Madness has set up what has proven to be an incredibly entertaining Final Four, filled with rich storylines. Unfortunately, the Final Four has been overshadowed at times by the recent events that led to Mike Rice and AD Tim Pernetti being ousted at Rutgers. Rice’s behavior was 100% unacceptable and has no place in college basketball or society as a whole. This was a shameful incident, and every broadcaster on every network across the nation condemned Rice’s actions and applauded his firing. Right? Sadly, that’s not quite the case. Former Rutgers coach Mike Rice (Image credit: Jim O’Connor, USA TODAY Sports) “The Wussificaton of American men” Two programs on the Fox News network featured at least one of their pundits coming to defend the indefensible. First up was Eric Bolling on The Five, where he stated: “We’re in the midst of political correctness crushing our ability to teach kids, to discipline kids, to disagree with people or one another or kids. Our culture is in decline, but this is an example of our culture in free fall and I’m saying this because he got fired, not because of what he did. I talk about the wussification of American men, and this is it. Are we better off as a nation now with all of the PC’ing, the wimpifiying, the wussificating and basically making men chihuahuas?” It’s hard to even comprehend how any person can actually think that not allowing tyrannical coaches to scream homophobic slurs and fire basketballs point blank and players is somehow causing our society to suffer from some sort of cultural decay. I will give credit to Bolling for chastising Rice for using homophobic slurs, but he had no problem with Rice firing basketballs, as well as kicking and pushing his players. Nobody is trying to say that coaches shouldn’t be allowed to discipline players; that’s a part of sports. Coaches are intense people that aren’t afraid to get in their players’ faces and holler at them. But going to the unacceptable extremes that Rice did is flat-out inexcusable. Luckily, one of Bolling’s co-hosts, Bob Beckel (who himself has held some outlandish opinions in his career) was there to inject some common sense into the situation, stating that Rice’s actions were that of a “mad man” and saying he “belonged in a mental institution, not on a basketball court.” If you thought only Eric Bolling was insane enough to defend Mike Rice, guess again. Later on his program, Sean Hannity and guest Michelle Malkin managed to somehow blow away Bolling on the stupidity scale with their defense of Rice and his abusive brand of discipline and “motivation.”   During the segment, they blamed the “politically correct left-wing media” of selectively “manufacturing outrage” to get Rice fired, because I guess in their minds it was some sort of grand political statement. I’m not going to get too far into the conversation about the media and whether certain networks have political leanings or not, but I can say with confidence that ESPN, where the videos of Rice’s abuse were first aired, isn’t proactively pushing a liberal agenda. Also, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, was one of the leading figures to express outrage and call for Rice to be fired when the videos were first made public. I have to applaud Christie for his handling of this situation, pressuring Rutgers to take swift action is getting rid of Mike Rice. I’m interested on what Hannity thinks of how Christie handled this scandal. Basketball coaches are not drill sergeants Another gem of Hannity’s defense was when he stated that he liked “old-fashioned discipline” and that Rice was trying to bring out the best in his team. I’m not quite sure what Rice’s players were supposed to learn from this “old-fashioned discipline,” other than to fear failure because they know it it will end with them having a basketball thrown at them and being called a “f***ing ******.” Even the players that came out in defense of Coach Rice didn’t defend his abusive behavior. Their beef was that the videos painted an untrue picture of a deranged tyrant and that there was another side of him. I mean even Rice himself seemed very remorseful for his actions and said that what he did was wrong. As far as the argument that he was bringing out the best in his team, Rice’s teams underachieved and finished with a sub-.500 record in each of his three seasons at Rutgers. Doesn’t seem like his unique brand of “motivation” was working too well. Hannity next compared Rice to a drill sergeant and offered this asinine comment: “Are we now going to fire drill sergeants because they get in the face of cadets? Is that next on the list of politically incorrect things we can’t do?” This comparison is beyond ridiculous. There is an enormous difference between a college basketball coach and a drill sergeant. A basketball coach tries to get his team to excel on the court, where if they fail they lose a game. A drill sergeant tries to get his men ready for combat, where if they fail they could lose their life. Trying to compare the two is downright absurd. Why should coaches be allowed to whip objects and shout gay slurs at their players? If any professor at Rutgers threw something at a student or called them a ************ as a means of discipline, they would be fired in the blink of an eye. Of course coaches will yell more than a professor, but trying to create that big of a double standard is foolish. Don’t think Michelle Malkin let Hannity spew all the insanity. She helped keep this joke of a conversation going by offering this comment: “I think there should be scrutiny of people who blow the whistle on these kinds of things.” That’s right, Malkin thinks that we should be criticizing Eric Murdock, who brought these tapes to the public eye. Most people have applauded Murdock for bringing to light an instance where a coach went way over the line and abused his players, but apparently Malkin thinks that he’s the real bad guy in this case. While Hannity conceded towards the end of the segment that maybe Rice shouldn’t have physically hit players, he still called for more discipline in society. He then finished with this quote: “My father hit me with a belt, and I turned out okay. Except in the minds of liberals.” It should be said that I highly doubt that every Fox News analyst agrees with these yahoos in regards to Mike Rice; I’m guessing these three are in the minority at Fox News when it comes to this topic. I don’t know how bad this alleged “wussification of American men” actually is, but what I do know is that certain television analysts need to get with the times and stop living in the 1950s. The post Defenders of Mike Rice (Yes, They Exist) Are Flat-Out Wrong appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.
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