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October 2, 2013
Time to buck up
October 2, 2013 - The Washington Post reported today Georgetown's women's basketball head coach Keith Brown and assistant Tim Valentine have been suspended with pay, while being investigated for conduct and language concerns. Really?
Per the article, Stacy Kerr, the school's assistant vice president for communication confirmed the suspensions while indicating allegations against the pair were made around two weeks ago. Driving this investigation and temporary removal is a new athletic department policy dubbed "Maintaining Respectful and Professional Relationships with Student Athletes".
It's time to buck up. If for nothing else but the sake of women's athletics.
At a moment when the anti-Title IX barbarians are at the gate - and for the record they can't be farthest from correct as women, usually over half of a student body are due half its athletic focus (an argument for another day) - female athletes shouldn't complain over harsh language. It's counterproductive to the larger battle or real or perceived equality.
Being driven verbally and aggressively is a hallmark of men's sports. Are we saying women should be treated differently?
Nobody's saying the next time a men's coach curses at a player, that guy or his parents should run to administrators complaining.
Absent sexual harassment, physical abuse or a racial insult based attack, players need to, well, bear it. Do they think opponents will say anything less in the heat of competition? If so, you are living in a fantasy land.
All this does is provide the cavemen with reason to deride some of the most competitive, skilled and driven athletes in any school.
While admittingly not knowing exactly what was supposedly said or done, this is certain: Brown is a salt of the earth, demanding and vocally challenging coach, one that is known to be ascerbic out his mouth. Ask his former players, they'll agree. They will also tell you he has their best interests at heart. Recruits know that coming in.
He's a guy that is known for helping young ladies land in college, even if they are not attending his school. Brown maintains a network of schools and people he regularly assists, which he doesn't have to do.
To be fussed, cursed or chastised in some way (other than as outlined above) by this pair shouldn't be seen as an attempt to belittle or hurt. He and Valentine were surely driving their charges to higher heights. Sometimes that effort is not pretty.
The double standard is when John Thompson, Jr. did it, or Rick Pitino (both Hall fo Famers), Bob Huggins or Joe Blow Division II men's coach do it, it's coaching, motivation or tough love. But when Brown and Valentine act accordingly - behind closed doors mind you - somehow negative derision has taken place. The student athletes are somehow harmed.
Maybe this generation of players is unaccustomed to conflict. It's possible their sheltered experience to date has been devoid of rough language. Learning to deal with and manage strife is part of growing up. In sport and life.
Buck up ladies. Your cause deserves more.