Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice deserved to get the ax for his shocking physical and verbal abuse of players, legendary baseball manager Tony La Russa says.
“I do not think it should be condoned,’’ La Russa — whose memoir “One Last Strike’’ is now out in paperback — told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’
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“It’s not a part of any coach that I know who’s trying to establish respect and trust between himself, his coaches and the players.’’
La Russa’s comments came a day after Rice’s dismissal in the wake of a video, aired on ESPN, that showed him cursing at players, hitting them, and hurling basketballs at their heads.
La Russa — who led the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, and Oakland Athletics and was named Manager of the Year four times — admitted that coaching often can get heated.
“Guys will get emotional. There are a lot of coaches that at one point will put their hands on a player to get their attention,’’ he said.
“But what was shown in that video was to the nth degree and in the long run you don’t have to be physical to impose your will. You can be verbal, you can be emotional.’’
La Russa, who led his teams to six Pennant wins and three World Series crowns, said he has witnessed coaches in “the heat of the moment’’ put their hands on players.
“Very, very occasionally … I’m not sure it’s ever something you feel good about afterwards. But when it becomes anything beyond just a momentary outburst, [it’s] definitely not acceptable,’’ he said.
Following his axing, Rice issued an apology for his behavior, saying:
“I’ve let so many people down … there’s no explanation for what’s on those films. Because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong. I want to tell everybody who’s believed in me that I’m deeply sorry.”
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