Tag Archive: basketball

Active NBA Player, Former NJ Net, Comes Out As Gay

promoted by Rosi

Jason Collins was a bruising center who has played for a lot of teams, including the New Jersey Net’s when they were making conference finals and championship series.

Today he came out in Sports Illustrated as a gay man, doing so as a free agent with no contract but expecting to play next year.  That takes real guts.  

I expect this will lead to more professional athletes, male and female, coming out in the next year or so.  The tide has been coming up the beach for a while, and it’s about to overtake the seawalls.

Also cool is that Senator Frank Lautenberg tweeted the following:

I hope that you will all put your comments in the section below.

NYTimes Lead on Rutgers Basketball Ignores Misogyny

Mmm hmm. Promoted by Rosi

In what seems like good news for Rutgers basketball players and fans, the state university of New Jersey hired Eddie Jordan to coach their team.

But in the New York Times’ reporting on it there’s something missing.  See if you can find it, or not find it.

Rutgers is set to introduce Eddie Jordan as the university’s new basketball coach on Tuesday, less than a month after the former coach Mike Rice was fired after video of him abusing his players – including shouting homophobic slurs at them and throwing balls at them – was broadcast on television and on the Internet.

OK, so I let the cat out of the bag in the subject, but it’s the use of negative references to women to belittle the young men on the team.  The anti-gay statements get referenced, but Rice also used p_ssy, c_nt, b_tch_s and other words to insult and rip his players.

No slander and bigotry is OK, but it does seem like the insults to women often get short shrift when other populations are also being insulted.

What If There Were No Video?

I attended today’s Town Hall Meeting at Rutgers in Newark, hosted by President Robert Barchi, who opened his remarks by reminding the audience that the purpose of the meeting was to focus on the Strategic Plan for moving Rutgers toward a world class future. But, the phalanx of reporters and television crews in attendance suggested that there might just be some lingering interest in the ongoing basketball scandal that came to light last week.

After Barchi opened with a grand vision of shared values, and ambitious leadership, an audience member asked about Barchi’s involvement in the basketball story, and Barchi retreated behind the defense of “I didn’t see the video til last week, and once I did, I took appropriate action.” That explanation, which has blunted some of the criticism, and at least to date may be what has saved his job, really bothered me. Because there’s almost never a video of bad behavior. And, what if there had been no video this time?

So, I went to the mic, and asked what seemed to me simple questions:

Assuming you did not see the video until last week, when I and the rest of America first saw it, were you at least aware last year that an employee of this University had on multiple occasions, over an extended period, physically assaulted multiple students while yelling misogynistic and homophobic slurs at them?

And if so, why didn’t you take the appropriate action then? And if not, who did? And either way, do you think in the face of the University’s inaction before the video became public, you still have the ability to lead this great institution into the world class future we’re discussing today?

His answers, to put it mildly, were less than world class. He didn’t admit or deny what he knew, he didn’t identify who knew what or when, and to the question of whether he still has the ability to lead – he deferred to the judgment of the Rutgers Board at whose pleasure he serves.

And, I come back to my office to learn that Governor Christie is proclaiming – without the benefit of any independent investigation – that Barchi did not commit a fireable offense, because he had not seen the video. I would say this to President Barchi, and to the Governor: leadership doesn’t always come with a videotape. Sometimes the facts are enough. And if Barchi, or others in leadership (after all, someone overruled Tim Pernetti’s recommendation to fire the Coach) had the facts described above – video or not – there was only one appropriate action to take. The one not taken until the video surfaced.

SNL does the Rutgers basketball scandal

Saturday Night Live did the Rutgers basketball coaching scandal last night, gender-flipping Coach Mike Rice to guest host Melissa McCarthy as the menacing coach of a women’s college b-ball team, hurling toasters.

“… But playing college ball isn’t supposed to be easy, or fun, or rewarding, it’s supposed to make money for the university.”

Tough Questions at Rutgers: President Barchi & Governing Board Chair Izzo Face the Press

Rutgers President Barchi – under heavy fire for allowing basketball coach Mike Rice to verbally and physically abuse student players for years, even as he guided RU into the Big 10 – finished a tense press conference a few minutes ago with Board of Governors chief Ralph Izzo. It was an obvious attempt to present an administration united front, and gain control of a wildfire story that reflects poorly on Rutgers, and likely an attempt to salvage Barchi’s job.

At one point, Barchi said the practices (at which the damning video was recorded) were open. “All these practices were public. If you look at the back of the video – there are people there. And nobody said anything.”

At that point, there was an interruption from the front row, unclear if it was a reporter: “Sir, that’s not true – An assistant coach said something and nobody did anything!”

First, a recap of the last 24 hours:

  • Whistleblower Eric Murdock files wrongful termination suit.

  • Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, forced to resign.

  • Assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli, called “Baby Rice” resigns.

  • Interim general counsel John Wolf, reported as resigned.

  • 2 major donors are very unhappy today.
  • Mike Rice Roundup: Dodgeball, Sandusky PR & College Ave. news truck overkill

    ESPN inescapable on campus: On ESPN’s Outside the Lines show – where the Mike Rice story broke yesterday with video outtakes of his physical and verbal abuse of players, both Sen. Steve Sweeney and Garden State Equality’s Troy Stevenson were interviewed. I missed most of both – busy day here. But if you saw it, fill us in in comments, and if I can get the video, I’ll post that. Much of ESPN’s reporting today has been about the investigation of Rice’s coaching behavior, who conducted it and who was contacted for it. ESPN was on campus today, and invited Rutgers officials to join them on air, but every invitation was declined, with RU personnel preferring to communicate via written statement.

    Buono on campus, too: Here’s Ledger video.

    ICYMI; Blue Jersey’s Top 10 Takeaways from the Rice Mess, and Rice’s voice-breaking admission that he’s an embarrassment to his kids.

    Have you seen the size of us? Former RU player Austin Johnson says players never felt threatened by Rice: “We’re grown men. We’re 6-8, 250-some odd lbs.”

    Au Bon Pain blocked? Twitter’s alive with RU students complaining College Ave. is stuffed with news trucks and getting anywhere is hell. Lots o’ dodgeball jokes on Twitter, too.

    Title IX breach? Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi of Univ. of Minnesota, an advocate and researcher of women and girls in sport, wonders if Rutgers will be facing Title IX breach due to harrassment based on gender (via sexist & homphobic language).

    Mike Rice, Motherfucker, Is Fired

    Via Star-Ledger, just now:

    Mike Rice is out at Rutgers.

    The university issued a release Wednesday morning saying that the third-year head coach has been relieved of his position at the men’s basketball coach.

    “I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said in a statement. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

    Rutgers Basketball Coach Mike Rice & College Sports Idiocy

    Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice has been caught on camera trying to shame his players by calling them some names. Fucking faggot. Fucking fairy. Sissy. Cunt. Motherfucker. He’s also seen shooting balls at their heads from a few feet away and shoving them. Sorry if the words offend  to read them here. But I think we should be very frank about what Rice has been doing, while he’s collecting that high salary we pay him. And Rutgers’ role in protecting him. Rutgers only made the video available – to several reporters – when it was clear ESPN was going to air it. Star-Ledger is reporting the tape was compiled by Rutgers’ former director of player development Eric Murdock, whose lawyers say was fired after making Pernetti aware of Rice’s behavior.

    It’s not ordinary abuse. When men use the terms of homophobia and misogyny to control other men it is a very specific form of shaming. And believe me, women and gay people know exactly where we stand with you when we hear these terms. The worst thing you can think of, to be like us.

    And it’s hard for me to take this episode seriously as anything but completely predictable. This is what happens when universities glorify sports, and exalt its performers. It’s what happens when the monetary investments are so outsized that universities will do anything not to burst the bubble.

    Watch. Let us know what you think. Garden State Equality and Gov. Christie’s reactions are below the fold. Via (via ESPN):

    Knight on the Knights

    If you or one of your children are going to college, you know how much the cost of a college degree has increased over the decades. Students and their families are forced to go into significant debt even as the job market for college graduates shrinks. Students from lower income families are especially disadvantaged because loans are harder to come by. Unless the student is fortunate to have garnered a full scholarship, you are also paying a hidden tax – the cost of college athletics.

    It’s time to change the tuition funding playbook.

    (there's more

     

    My son, Pinnochio

    Promoted by Rosi – This is a little outside our usual subject matter. It’s not directly about politics in the way most of our diaries are. But damn it, I love this diary. I’ve read it 5 times, and this kid is amazing – and so are the teachers and kids surrounding him. And his parents. Good diary for a chilly Sunday night.

    My son Adam is a member of the Manchester Regional High School Falcons, Freshman Basketball Team.  He is officially listed as manager/alternate as he is developmentally disabled and although extremely passionate about basketball, he does not possess the ability to reach the skill level required to be a regular member of the team.

    Regardless of that, Coach Forestieri and Coach Sponzilli, have made Adam’s dreams come true.  In all but one game, Coach Forestieri and the other coaches have put Adam in to actual play towards the end of the game.  Adam’s teammates have given up opportunities to win, in order to allow Adam time in the game. Adam has a career of 4 pts now!!

    I am writing this today because their “record” is horrible so no one is paying attention to, what I know has to be, the team with the best sportsmanship and humanity in the league.

    Today, Manchester has a home game against Elmwood Park and the “Make a Difference Club” a club for the Bergen County Special Services Program housed at Manchester (Adam’s program) will be there to support Adam and the Falcons.  Not only has the athletic department at Manchester Regional High School gone above and beyond to help my son but in doing so, they are teaching important life lessons beyond the scope of a traditional basketball program.  They deserve to be recognized as the outstanding leaders they are.  

    Also, Adam’s teammates deserve recognition for patiently providing Adam with support and guidance and never letting him feel that he is anything but equal to them as a player and member of the team. (Let me remind you these are freshman boys behaving so humanely, so beautifully)

    As a side note: “The Make a Difference Club” is a club formed for special needs students to participate in afterschool activities.  After initial announcements went out asking for the support of the mainstream student community to join this club, the response was overwhelming. This was Sandi Cortazzo’s dream when we approached her about possible after school activities for Adam and it has been tremendously successful.

    My husband, Michael, and I felt that today is so special because these two groups are coming together today and what a special gift we have as Adam’s parents to be able to part of it.  Adam, a member of the “club” as well as a “basketball player”, is fulfilling his dreams in ways few people can understand.  

    I think of him as Pinocchio because all we wants so desperately is to be “a real normal boy” and Manchester Regional High School along with Bergen County Special Services, together, are his “blue fairy” and have made his dreams come true.