Mike Rice (above) is the subject of a Jonathan Mahler profile in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine in which the former Rutgers Men’s Basketball head coach (currently running after-school clinics for kids) offers something less than an a full confession (“I was an idiot, but I never abused anybody,”), and Mahler suggests in passing, that perhaps the college hoops media (and Jay Bilas in particular) were remiss in not reporting Rice’s outbursts earlier. On the eve of Rice’s appearance on ABC’s “20/20”, the New York Post’s Zach Braziller spoke to a number of interested parties, some of whom felt Rice would be better served by keeping a lower profile.
One parent of a former player under Rice, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his apology is “disingenuous,” that the coach hasn’t spoken directly to several players.
“When I read about the rehabilitation and when I read about John Lucas and when I read about ‘20/20,’ what bothers me is that I don’t think rehabilitation starts until you apologize to the people you affected,” the parent said. “Text message, email and those types of forms of communication are not satisfying for this type of behavior/incident.”
One local college athletic director, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Rice is rushing the process by going on television, whether he has indeed changed or not. The AD suggested Rice basically “go away” for a year, keep a low profile, attend high school and college practices and prove he has changed — not tell the world about it.
“This shows Mike Rice doesn’t get it,” the athletic director said. “He’s not giving himself or the people around him time to heal.
“It’s too fresh. He needs to let it die down. The new coach of Rutgers hasn’t coached a game. You see the words Mike Rice, you automatically think bad things.”
Paul Swangard, the Oregon University Managing Director of the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, agreed with the athletic director, saying Rice’s line about not abusing anyone “calls into question” his sincerity.
“It’s almost admitting I never had a problem,” Swangard said.