As former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice showed the most repellent on-court demeanor since Bobby Knight, outside observers have voiced their annoyance about the rise of dictatorial coaches. However, the fact remains the coach-as-bully is learned behavior and it starts early.
As long as schools place winning -- and the ticket sales winning generates -- above the welfare of the students, it seems unlikely we are going to see athletic directors and presidents alter their behavior.
I don't know any of the Rutgers players, or how they felt about their coach, but I know the way he treated them involved bullying, intimidation, and abuse. There is no room for that in the sports world, especially amongst student-athletes.
How is it possible that behavior that could lead to arrest in public is tolerated within the culture of sports? How is it that violently homophobic language is decried in school communities yet excused in the private world of teams?
Somewhere in this terrible moment I thought about manhood, how it is often defined in our society. And how these players were openly rejecting what many of us had been taught since we were boys: That men do not cry.