Like most people upon seeing video of former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice abusing his players that leaked on Tuesday, Ray Allen was angry. The Miami Heat guard said before the team's game Tuesday night that Rice's actions were reprehensible and the exact opposite of what a coach should do.
"I mean, it was just despicable,” Allen told the Palm Beach Post. "It made me want to fight, it made me want to fight this guy, watching him throw the ball at those players."
On Tuesday, ESPN aired video of a Rutgers practice from December that shows Rice physically and verbally assaulting his players, throwing basketballs at them, pushing them, and using anti-gay slurs. Rice was originally suspended for three games, fined $50,000, and ordered to attend anger management classes, but on Wednesday Rutgers fired Rice.
When asked if his teammates shared his opinion, Allen replied, "You can ask anybody in the locker room that saw that video, they felt the same way."
After the video leaked, Allen's teammate LeBron James tweeted, "If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I'm still gone whoop on him afterwards! C'mon."
Allen shared James' sentiments. "That ball came at me that way, it would have been going back the other direction, right back at him," he said. "You know what, we say that as professionals, but as a collegiate athlete, you’re trying to make it, you’re trusting higher powers and coaches, I don’t know what I would have done."
It's not that Rice got angry with his players, but how he expressed his anger, according to Allen. "Everyone has stories about how mean their coach used to be," he said. "My coach in high school would throw the ball rack, but he wouldn't throw it at anybody."
Allen added that a coach's main priority is to teach his players, and teaching sometimes means letting players make mistakes so they can learn from them. He saw himself in the Rutgers players. "That's me, wanting to learn, you make mistakes, you're not doing it on purpose, you're trying to learn," he said.
"And that's what coaches should do, you teach. Yelling at kids and throwing balls at them, there’s no place for that."
Besides Rice, observers have also been calling for the job of Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti, who suspended Rice in December rather than fire him then. Allen, who sits on the Board of Directors at the University of Connecticut (his alma mater), said if that happened at UConn, "I would do everything I can to make sure that coach got fired, whether it was any sport, because there’s no place for that."