As this years NCAA tournament nears its end, the Rutgers University basketball scandal is providing a useful backdrop. The physical and mental abuse that now-fired Rutgers mens basketball coach Mike Rice heaped on his players is putting a spotlight on abusive behavior that is shocking to see in a video but tolerated mostly without qualms at schools across the nation.
Indeed for all the tardy fury from Rutgers administrators about Rices behavior, he would still be coaching there if that video showing him shoving, throwing basketballs at and heaving anti-gay and other epithets at his players had not aired publicly and gone viral. Rice wasnt fired Wednesday (nor did Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resign on Friday) so much for what Rice did but that the public found out about it.
Pernetti saw the video in the fall and only suspended Rice for three games and fined him. The belated firing occurred only because school leaders are now embarrassed, and got caught tolerating ongoing behavior no other Rutgers teacher would get away with.
Sadly, some studies show that this sort of abusive behavior by coaches is not unusual. One study said 75 percent of young people experience psychologically harmful treatment in sports.
Rices out-of-control temper reportedly caused at least three players to transfer. Unfortunately, NCAA rules punished the students when they did so. They lost a year of eligibility.
That prospect has probably kept too many students at schools, tolerating this kind of abuse and staying silent. The NCAA should revisit the eligibility rule for just these kinds of situations. They should certainly revisit the cases of the students who left because of Rice and consider restoring their eligibility.
But its the leaders of these universities who bear responsibility in these matters. They should not have to be shamed into acting against abusive employees and protecting students. Rutgers failed. The schools that took part in the NCAA tournament and all the others who didnt should take time out from cheering on their teams and make sure their programs are doing right by their players.
Domestic violence is cause for women to worry
We cant fathom what was going through the mind of journalist Chris Matthews of MSNBC when he asked colleague Andrea Mitchell, seemingly incredulously last week, whether women really worry about being abused. Mitchell had been talking about Vice President Joe Bidens appearance at an event honoring womens advocates where he condemned violence against women.
Is that close to the bone? The idea of wife beating or beaters? Matthews asked. Is that something that women really worry about?... In the home? She said, Yes!
Here are the sad statistics about domestic violence: One in four women experience violence from a partner in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three women die each day at the hands of a boyfriend, husband or ex-husband. And the violence most often takes place out of the public eye in the home. In fact, witnessing violence in the home is the strongest risk factor for perpetuating the cycle of abuse in children when they grow up, experts say.
So, yes, many women worry about abuse. They have good reason.
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