Since I’m only two weeks post neck surgery, and still unable to do very much, I’ll make this brief and to the point.
We’ve all heard about the Rutger’s coaching scandal and the subsequent outrage and fall out. Now, many days after the videos first surfaced, some of the people involved have been fired or resigned. While the university is preparing to investigate the incidents for a second time, Governor Christie has firmly backed the President of the institution, the coach and athletic director have walked away with huge severance packages, and the furor overall seems to be dying down.
However. There’s one more deeply disturbing thing, even though all of that is surely enough to make one reach for a bottle of mouthwash. There is another facet to this story that has received scant attention and it’s one I find of the greatest concern: the inexplicable and tragic reaction of some of the young players to the experience they had with Coach Rice.
The physical and verbal abuse.
I was speechless and beyond appalled as I watched tape on the players involved and heard a number of them state that they didn’t think they were being abused or that it wasn’t that bad.
Huh? Is this what this about-to-be-adult generation has been taught to accept as appropriate behavior? Really? Is this behavior that goes with the territory of sport and competition? Or is this a knee-jerk reaction to saying whatever it takes in order not to lose a scholarship or be ostracized by who knows who down the road?
Whatever the source of this response, shouldn’t we, as a society, a culture, a country, be upset and outraged that abuse has been diluted so deeply that it has become acceptable behavior to be tolerated?
When all the dust settles on this, and it will settle, and these events will too quickly be forgotten as our frenzy for whatever story is “trending” will propel us onward to another regrettable happening, will we move on with little concern for the real carnage left behind?
Do we just not care that much about the psyches and emotions of a group of young athletes who have come to accept brutal, insulting and offensive language and actions as part of the norm of “playing the game?”
If so, shame on us and the world we will end up with in which that attitude is allowed to continue to foment and breed.
On The Inner Bottom Line, any words or actions that disrespect, offend, insult or wound are unacceptable, unconscionable and unethical. It really is that simple.
Sadly, for a number of people embroiled or caught up in events like this, the scars are lasting and stunting and should not be discounted.