As a graduate of Rutgers University, I’m a devastated that once again I am hearing them in the news in a negative light.
I’m sure that by now you’ve all seen or heard about the footage of [former] men’s basketball coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing his players on the court. His uses slurs and violence to “reach” his players in an attempt to apparently, make them “tougher”.
For one, I am completing outraged. I really liked a comparative example that I heard today: If your child was sitting in the classroom and the teacher was verbally and physically abusing them, would you tolerate it? Or would you want them fired?
My feeling is (especially after Rutgers was in the news regarding the suicide of Tyler Clementi) that we can no longer tolerate bullying. Bullying isn’t just something that occurs between children or on the playground. Bullying is real, it exists, and it shows no prejudice. It can happen to anyone, by anyone, and invoke real feelings that are more than skin-deep. Bullying does not create a “thick skin”. Chucking a basketball at your players head from point-blank range does not create “toughness”. Neither does using homophobic slurs and foul language to belittle them.
I’m not sure where we (I’m taking about ALL of us, not just RU) went wrong. But at the point that our educators – the people that we entrust our children with, the people that are here to teach them lessons both on and off the court – begin to bully their pupils, we have lost our way.
The real question is: will we ever trust that they find their way back?