Mike Rice, the former Rutgers basketball coach who was fired after video showed him abusing players has not left the game of basketball. Despite the moral outrage after video surfaced showing him push players, fire balls at their heads and yell gay slurs at them, he is coaching tween girls.
Rice coached his 12 year-old daughter's AAU team while still at Rutgers. Although a university found his behavior grounds for termination, the parents of the seventh grade girls on the AAU team are apparently fine with having their daughters play for him.
Brian Geltzeiler of Hoopscritic.comtweeted that Rice was apparently not being kind to the seventh grade players and yelling at refs while coaching a game. He was reportedly still "acting like a madman," according to the tweets, which Deadspin reported in this article.
“The Deadspin report is a gross misrepresentation of the facts,” a source close to the AAU team told SNY.tv. “The team’s parents are fully behind Coach Rice and his instruction of their daughters.”
While I can accept that there is a difference between an individual's behavior at work and as a parent coaching a child, I would have a really tough time knowing that a man whose is infamous for his abusive coaching style was coaching my child. That's because I have seen the video of him "coaching" college kids. I haven't seen Mike Rice coaching seventh grade AAU basketball. If I had, perhaps I would feeling differently Some have come to Rice's defense, including this article on CBS Sports in which the author says, "I'm OK with moving on and letting him [Rice] move on, too."
Regardless of how you feel about Mike Rice, his current coaching position clearly illustrates that people who have been abusive coaches in the past are coaching tweens. It underscores that parents need to know how to protect their kids from abusive coaches.
You can find 6 tips for ensuring for protecting your tween athletes from an abusive coach here. The tips include:
- Be aware of what goes on in both games and in practices.
- Make sure the coach puts your child's safety first.
- Know what the coaches' priorities are.
- Know your child.
- Talk about the role of a coach with your child.
- Make sure your kids know they can talk to you.
No child should be abused in any way by a coach. Ever.
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