Mike Rice and the Rutgers Basketball Controversy: Where Is C. Vivian Stringer During All Of This?

vivian_stringer_mike_rice

The Rutgers University administration is currently discussing the future of Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Rice, after a video surfaced to ESPN, Tuesday, showing him “shoving, grabbing, and throwing balls” and “using gay slurs”

This is not something Rutgers was unaware, but it is one they must deal with now.
Athletic Director Tim Pernetti has already said the school was investigating the incident last summer and it ended with a suspension and fining in December.

This was before a video of the event reached ESPN’s ‘Outside The Lines’ program.  Now Pernetti is reconsidering the suspension, which may end with Rice losing his job as soon as this afternoon.

Already, New Jersey Assembly speaker, Sheila Oliver has called the behavior, “unacceptable” and said Rice should “no longer be employed by Rutgers University.”

Governor Chris Christie’s spokesman announced that Jersey’s leader was “deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed.”

Even basketball players such as LeBron James have come out publicly to condemn Rice, saying if his kid played for Rice, he would have some explaining to do.

But the one major sports voice that exists at Rutgers University, one that has gone through previous controversy, and is a Hall of Fame Coach in her own right, has stayed silent still 24 hours after the event has taken place.

C. Vivian Stringer, the head coach of the Women’s basketball team has not said a word on the matter.

Stringer, as many remember, was the face of the resistance against what were hateful, racist, and sexist comments from former WFAN morning host, Don Imus, in 2007.  His famous remarks, about the Rutgers team, calling them “nappy-headed hos” on his radio program, brought the coach to the forefront.

Her leadership helped keep Rutgers strong against these comments and the stereotypes they hold.   It brought her praise and recognition not typically seen from those in the college basketball realm.

But that standing needs to be used today.  The same voice and leadership she had back in 2007 should be on display already when student-athletes are once again being targeted, especially at her own school.

Where is she?  In a time of crisis at the New Jersey state school, one that is sure going to put Rutgers in a national spotlight again, she should be out there defending students as she once did – being an example, instead of yet another person at Rutgers making incorrect decisions.  She needs to call for the job of Rice as attacking students, both physically, and verbally in the fashion Rice did, is unacceptable for any coach or leader of students, in this country.

 

Update:

Rutgers has since announced the termination of Rice’s contract.

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4 Comments

Filed under College Sports

4 responses to “Mike Rice and the Rutgers Basketball Controversy: Where Is C. Vivian Stringer During All Of This?

  1. Assuming that Stringer knew nothing of Rice’s treatment of his players, I can understand her silence over the last 24 hours. When ESPN *and* the Governor *and* everyone else are piling onto your boss, there’s no great benefit in you joining the chorus.

    If, however, Rutgers had decided to retain Rice rather than fire him, perhaps a public statement from Stringer would have been in order.

    • I think when your voice would be the most important voice in this situation, it would not be seen as piling on, but rather as the official voice of the sports program at your school. If your stance as a caretaker of student-athlete has been what Stringer’s was in the past, she should be expected to be aware and ready for action within 24 hours of it occurring – whether it was her half of the basketball program or not.

      Obviously the right thing was done by Rutgers today, stopping it from her having to be a “voice of reason” here, but her having no opinion makes it seem like she’s putting the school ahead of the student-athletes she should be helping to protect.

  2. Tony M

    She is an employee of the university and this matter has nothing to do with her team. She is right to keep quiet. The football coach hasn’t spoken up…neither has the baseball coach…the lacrosse coaches…soccer coaches…

    • She’s the most recognizable person at the school, probably more than the football coach. It’s different for her than the others there. If you are going to make yourself the face of the university once in the past, you can’t hide when national attention returns for a similar student-athlete issue. Her stature at the school allows her to be a leader to make a positive out of a bad situation again.

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