Former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired in April 2013 after video surfaced of him verbally and physically abusing players during practice. He just landed his first gig since the messy incident — an interim coach position with The Patrick School in New Jersey. The school’s principal, Chris Chavannes, tried to help Rice ease back into the public eye by inviting NJ Advance Media to practice yesterday.
A visit aimed at yielding a sympathetic comeback piece turned into a disaster, though, when Rice refused to answer any questions.
"After a brief introduction toward the beginning of practice, Rice realized the reporter was the same one who wrote a story about Rice being ejected from the stands by a referee during his son’s varsity boys basketball game for Point Pleasant Beach High last February. Rice became upset. “You were wrong,” Rice said. “I rarely tell people this, but you were wrong.” Here’s what Rice was ticked off about: According to the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, Rice and another adult in the stands were ejected from the gym when the crowd vociferously objected to a call. NJ.com reported the incident, including in the story the version from a police spokesman, along with comments from fans who said Rice “did not deserve to be thrown out,” because he “didn’t say a word.” "
As a surprised Chavannes looked on, Rice said he would’t be doing any interviews — not even if Walter Cronkite rose up from the dead.
Look, being subjected to unfair press coverage is challenging. Without knowing the particulars of the report Rice took issue with, it’s hard to suggest how aggrieved he should feel. But considering all the warranted negative headlines and difficulty Rice has faced since the Rutgers fiasco, it’s surprising he didn’t choose to bite his tongue and give a vanilla quote for the sake of mending his image.
It’s also hard not to feel bad for the school. Surely this isn’t the type of scenario they saw playing out when hiring him to come in and attempt to rebuild his career.