People all around Portland love the jovial, no-filter color commentator for the Portland Trail Blazers, Mike Rice. This has been a tough week for him and his family. The events surrounding the firing of Mike Rice Jr. have been widely publicized. I have a bit of a different opinion on his firing and the circumstances that led to the Rutgers' basketball coach being let go.
There have always been colorful, intense coaches in every sport; coaches who have pushed the limits and made news. In college basketball in particular, chairs have been thrown, players pushed and coaches thrown out of games. In the past, those have all been on the evening news and then talked about occasionally after that. However, we live in a different world now.
With the overwhelming presence of social media and the 24/7 coverage of sports on several different platforms, every event and controversy is put under the microscope of everyone with an opinion. In today's world, people feel that they have the right to call for somebody's job, even when it does not affect them in any way.
In the case of Rice and the Rutgers' basketball program, they tried to handle the issue internally until a disgruntled employee decided to leak a video compilation of the worst moments of Rice's coaching career. 10, 15, 20 years ago, there would have been no avenue to distribute that kind of information. And even if there were, I am not sure that the outcome would have been the same.
In no way am I saying that Rice's actions were acceptable. My point is that I believe that this should have been an internal issue. Rutgers and the NCAA should have handled it, and it should not have become a case governed by public opinion. This is by no means the only case of its kind.
Syracuse basketball went through a similar type of firing. The public wanted Bernie Fine fired after allegations of sexual molestation charges. That firing took place and Fine's reputation was irreparably ruined. Only a matter of time later, the allegations were proven to be false and hollow.
This society we live in is so focused on being politically correct when in terms of focusing on somebody else, however those same individuals feel they deserve a second chance whenever they have a misstep. I don't think Rice or Fine will ever get that second chance. The court of public opinion has already demolished those reputations. Once again, I do not condone any kind of abuse but you cannot tell me that Rice is the only college coach that has anger management issues. I thought that the college was handling it justly with a fine and suspension, but obviously my opinion does not match up with the rest of society. For me, I will never call for anyone's job, it's not my place to say whether someone else should be fired or not.
Garrett Thornton is on Twitter. Follow him at
Garrett Thornton is on Twitter. Follow him at@PortlandGarrett