Columnist: Does Mike Rice belong in jail for his actions?

Mike RiceMike Rice has been fired and has subsequently given a statement apologizing for his actions. But that hasn’t caused some in the media to come down from their high and mighty posts.

In the past 24 hours media members have railed on about how they’ve never seen anything like Mike Rice (except they have in the person of Bobby Knight) and that no AD should ever hire Rice again. And if an AD does, they’ll rip the AD. So it shouldn’t surprise that yet another media member (Tom Harvey of the New York Daily News) on his high and mighty post has asked whether or not Mike Rice should face criminal charges for his actions as Rutgers head coach.

Spoiler alert: He does.

Under New Jersey law there seems to be little doubt that Rice violated criminal statutes. If a college professor threw things, physically shoved, pushed and kicked students, is there any doubt a criminal arrest would follow?

Worse, if any of those students were 17 or younger, the behavior would fit the definition of child abuse under a state statute, and anyone who failed to report the abuse may have also violated the law. The fact that Pernetti and Barchi are still allowed on campus shows a complete lack of prospective and common sense among Rutgers’ Board of Trustees.

In New Jersey, a person commits an offense if, with purpose to harass another, he subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or engages in any course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committing acts with purposes to alarm or seriously annoy such other person. Anyone who has watched the disturbing video would have to agree that coach Rice crossed the line of acceptable behavior.

Also, there is the question of whether Pernetti and Barchi watched the videotape? If not, they should be fired for sheer negligence and stupidity. If they did watch the video, they should be fired, and at a minimum, investigated by law enforcement with respect to possible criminal violations. Did either of them verify that none of the players were 17 or younger? Once again, kids come last at a major university.

Look, we’re not trying to excuse Rice’s actions, but let’s call a spade a spade. This is how “coaching” is being done all over the nation and at almost every level. And most of these media members know it. But since there is video for all to see, these same media members are now outraged and want a coach arrested for things they’ve seen multiple times at multiple practices and never said a word about it.

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