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Mike Rice’s former players defend him publicly

Apr 4, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

spt-120117-mikerice AP

The last 48 hours have likely been brutal for former Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, as he’s been bashed by everyone from sportswriters to the Governor of New Jersey — deservedly so — over the video that was released by former staffer Eric Murdock of Rice’s abusive practices.

It can’t be pleasant to get crushed over and over again, but Rice can take solace in one thing: his former players have come out to back him.

“They also don’t account for all the other things that go on in our program,” Austin Johnson told TODAY’s Natalie Morales. “Coach Rice has done a lot for me and my family.” Said Sean Bannon, “I think the large majority of the players felt the exact same way I did. I don’t think we were ever really uncomfortable or felt threatened.”

That’s a fair point to make. I’m sure that Rice did do some good things for his players, and I’m sure that the way the video was edited and shown on Outside The Lines completely ignored every time that he cheered on his players or congratulated them for a good play.

But that’s really besides the point.

The good things that he did really don’t matter.

Not when there’s video evidence of a coach pushing, kicking and throwing basketballs at his players while directing gay slurs their way.

Coach K would get fired if a video like that came out.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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