Last year, there was the Penn State scandal, and all its foibles.
This year, a new college controversy has unfolded, and it’s up Interstate 81 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
On Wednesday, ESPN aired a video of Rutgers’ men’s basketball coach Mike Rice hurling an equal share of basketballs and bigoted slurs at his players. That led to Rice’s termination the following day, and the resignation of the university’s athletic director, Tim Pernetti, the day after that.
On that day, Friday, in anticipation of a news conference that would be given by school president Robert Barchi, ESPN reporter John Barr was fielding a question from the “SportsCenter” anchor back at the studio when a startled look begot his face. Then, Barr proceeded to explain what just happened off the air, and drew a parallel between the flak the Worldwide Leader received at Happy Valley in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Nothing like a Jersey wiseguy to muddy the waters a little, eh, John?
Transcript follows. Video here.
“Look, this is live, TV, and weird stuff happens on live TV. I’m just gonna share this with you. We just got hit – our photographer just got hit with a water balloon, okay? Ugh, there’s a student who walked by a few moments ago, and just used the word “vultures.” It’s sort of a, a, a very similar experience to the one we experienced at Penn State, ugh, where a lot of students and members of the community turned their frustrations and their anger on the media. Ugh, I just wanted to share that with our viewers that, ugh, it’s not exactly a terribly welcoming environment here on the Rutgers campus. Ugh, look, this reflects poorly on the school, ugh, and I guess I would just appeal to people to keep their heads about them as, ugh, as this story unfolds. All we did was provide the opportunity for the public to see a videotape that school administrators saw in private and, um, ugh, at the very core of what we do, that’s what we should be doing, showing people what goes on behind closed doors. I just wanted to share that with our viewers right now.”