A popular coach was fired for trying to encourage his team to do better through the use of a "rapist" joke.

According to the New York Post, cross-country coach Ken Miller used a joke to try to get his team to perform better. According to the story, Miller allegedly said: "run like you’re being chased by a rapist".

Miller was the coach at an elite high school in the Bronx neighborhood in New York City.

This story comes up at the same time we are dealing with a similar situation at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Ragin' Cajuns' softball coach Michael Lotief was fired yesterday for alleged verbal and physical abuse. You can read more about the complaints against Lotief here.

Photo Courtesy: ragincajuns.com
Photo Courtesy: ragincajuns.com

Of the similarities in the cases, the one that sticks out to me most is this: the players on both teams, for the most part, want their coach to stay. At Lotief's press conference yesterday, the softball team was in attendance, many overcome with emotion. As for Coach Miller: his team loves him, and they, too, are coming to their coach's defense.

Another similarity: in both cases, the disgraced coaches are accusing the school of practicing retaliation: Lotief for being vocal about equality for his players, and Miller for filing a complaint against an assistant coach.

Should either coach have been terminated? Absolutely.  It's in the best interest of both schools to part ways with their respective coaches if only to protect themselves from future legal action. Additionally, both coaches chose to use inappropriate language and subject matter, which shouldn't be acceptable to any program.

Now, what about the players?

Well, at the risk of sounding crude, they will just have to carry on, in whatever way they choose. They can choose to continue with the program and strive to do well (because that is, hopefully, what the coaches have taught them to do), or they can quit the team and/or go so far as to transfer schools (which would be understandable if they were one of the complainants).

I am interested in seeing which road the players choose to take, as this will say more about them than, I think, anything. I spoke with one UL sports fan, asking his opinion on the girls who choose to stay and play, and his answer was this: "I've never been a season ticket holder for the UL Softball program, but I will buy tickets for this coming season to support the players who stay".

I think that the UL softball program needs our support now, more than ever before.

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