PRSA chair: Rutgers PR crisis stems from months of woeful inaction

The head of the Public Relation Society of America offers a path to redemption for Rutgers University, which fired its head coach this week because of his violent behavior.

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Rice’s termination is aimed at staunching the flow of criticism targeted at the university following the airing of a videotape that shows Rice shoving, grabbing, and throwing balls at his players on ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning investigative series “Outside the Lines” on Tuesday. The video also shows Rice directing homophobic and misogynistic slurs at his players and using other coarse language. And a Rutgers player who was born in Guinea claims that Rice mocked him and made fun of his English.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been quoted as saying, “It’s not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people.” Even LeBron James weighed in, tweeting:

If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon

— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 2, 2013

But like an open wound that’s left to fester, the dismissal of Rice comes at least four months too late. As a result, the university is likely to face four times the negative impact to its reputation that it would have had it been forthcoming about the coach’s actions and taken immediate action to remedy the situation.

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