If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saying No to Abusive Behavior

“There is no excuse for it. I was wrong.” So said former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice in his apology speech before cameras.

Most people who have watched the video of Rice abusing his players agree that he was wrong. He was wrong to push players around. He was wrong to throw basketballs at them. He was wrong to use homophobic slurs.

Not everyone agrees. At least one commentator on Fox took the stance that coaches use such physical and emotional violence to toughen up players; no harm was intended or done.

When the Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti, saw the videotape he agreed it was wrong and suspended the coach for three games (pay forfeited) and fined Rice an additional $50,000. It was a “first offense” and Rice was to receive counseling during his suspension. Implicit in Pernetti’s decision was that Rice’s behavior was not sufficient to warrant terminating his contract.

The reaction of the players recorded on the videotape to Rice’s abuse was telling. They did not act surprised, angered or cowed at the abuse. Why? My assumption is they were inured to it. This was no first time offense, it was habitual behavior.

Once the video went viral the university fired Rice and a couple of days later fired Pernetti. An assistant basketball coach and university lawyer have also resigned.

Why did the public release of the very same video Rutgers was provided in November 2012 now lead to Rice’s termination in April 2013? Apparently only because that’s when the allegations of misconduct became widely known. Pernetti did not immediately indicate upon its release that he had erred in his earlier judgment to suspend rather than terminate Rice. No, he justified his actions.

Which means he too showed insufficient judgment to represent the university and had to go. According to at least one source, one of the Board of Trustees also saw the video in November. If, as has been reported, an outside director requested the president see the video, and the president decided it was not important enough to spend his precious time, the president too should resign. After all, the entire video is only thirty minutes long and the president was quoted as saying, “it took me five minutes” to decide to fire Mr. Rice.

If the Trustee did not continue to work to have Rice terminated; if he stopped when he met the presidential stone wall, he too should resign. I have no clue who else at the university saw the video before its viral release, but if they had any authority over the situation, they should also resign.

As reported in the New York Times, the university’s legal investigation focused on the technical question of whether there was a “hostile working environment.” They concluded it did not meet the legal definition. The problem with asking lawyers a narrow question is that you get a narrow answer.

The highest priority for any school should be the protection of its students. There should be zero tolerance for the kind of behavior demonstrated on the video and zero tolerance for those who cover it up.

~ Jim


E. B. Davis said...

I think that what happened at Penn State has positively effected sports. The tolerance level is down for abuse. But I suspect, like so much in our society, it's just a reaction. Whatever happened to 55 saves lives? Most of 95 has posted speed limits of 70. I think it's all politics and liability insurance. CYA. If someone is convicted, everyone is "concerned." But if someone gets away with it, a blind eye is turned until they are forced to pony up. Five years ago no one would have said a word.

Pauline Alldred said...

If a bully can get away with it, the bullying continues so someone has to whistle-blow to stop the abuse. It's especially bad when it happens to young people but it also happens at work. Then people are afraid of losing their jobs. Surely many people know a petty authority who holds back on needed supplies or doctors performance evaluations to enforce his/her own agenda?

Linda Rodriguez said...

You're absolutely right, Jim. But athletics, athletic directors, and coaches rule on campuses today. Frequently, the athletic director (and sometimes the coach) makes more than even the president or chancellor.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for bringing this up. Sports have their own rules, sort of like Congress. Most people involved don't want to be judged by "outsiders."

Carla Damron said...

I'm glad you wrote this. Point well made.

Gloria Alden said...

I agree. I've seen this type of behavior even in kid sports with youngsters elementary school age both with Little League coaches and the gym teachers. I think it sets up the tolerance for later grades and college sports to think it's normal and necessary for coaches to act like that to have a good team. At least for those, who might have been good at certain sports later if they hadn't been turned off earlier by the behavior of screaming and belittling coaches.