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Life in the 21st Century

May 28, 2013 -- 1:06pm

Let me get this straight: 17 years ago when Julie Hermann was coaching the Tennessee volleyball team she screamed at her players and called them names, obviously trying to get them to perform better.

And now her job as athletic director at Rutgers is in jeopardy because of it?

Is this a wonderful country or what?

Exactly when did “verbal abuse” become a fireable offense in coaching?

Listen, I’m not naïve. I realize this story has an edge to it because Rutgers recently went through a scandal that resulted in its basketball coach and AD being fired after video surfaced of the coach screaming insensitive things at his players and throwing basketballs at them.

And I’m not defending Hermann. I don’t know her, but isn’t it reasonable to assume Rutgers did a decent job of checking out her past, professional and personal? Going after her for such old “news” seems way over the top.

Actually, it seems so 21st century, and that’s sad.

We live in a time when the slightest verbal hiccup – intentional or not – becomes a major story and the offender is more often than not thrown to the wolves. I believe in a watchdog media but too often the watchdog becomes a witch hunt: keep digging until you find something negative. How many of us have nothing in our lives we want to remain hidden?

The irony is we also live in a time when second and third and fourth chances for drug abuse, alcohol abuse, reckless behavior and bad character are handed out so freely.

For example, drink too much, get behind the wheel of a car and put lives at risk and get forgiveness.

But utter an insensitive word and be labeled a racist, sexist or homophobe for life.

Think about it: Fuzzy Zoeller is still painted as a villain while Ray Lewis is portrayed as a role model.

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