Team captain Darius Hamilton: "You wont find another coach in the country with a greater deal of integrity who also cares for his players like he cares about his own kids."
Team captain Leonte Carroo: "The team loves Coach Flood, that's our guy all the way. That's our leader. That's the guy that I have the most faith in and that's the guy that I want leading this football team this year. I wouldn't want any other guy leading us this year and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I truly love Coach Flood."
Senior Keith Lumpkin: "You just have to focus on the task at hand," senior left tackle Keith Lumpkin said. "You've to chop the situation. We just had to focus on the game. You can't really focus on anything else."
Julian Pinnix-Odrick: "We're just trying to stick together as a team," redshirt junior Julian Pinnix-Odrick said. "These are times where we need to be strongest as a team. All this family thing that we preach constantly is coming out now. It's not just a gimmick. It's not just something to get recruits. We're really a tight team. You're going to defend your brothers. I'm going to do anything for those guys I'm out there playing with."
When I first addressed the transgressions of five players on the Rutgers Football team, I spoke under the assumption that Head Coach Kyle Flood's tenure at Rutgers was coming to an end. How could I not? Over the years, Rutgers has shown they are prone to caving in to pressure from outside influences (See: the unjust dismissal of one Tim Pernetti). They have shown that they are willing to throw someone under the bus as the scapegoat if it relieves some of the ridicule towards the university. Well, it appears times have changed, and if you are of the same opinion as myself, then they have changed for the better. The easy way out would have been to fire Kyle Flood. However, from the undying support of his players, to the lack of disciplinary action taken by the university, is appears that is far from coming to fruition.
Which brings me to this. The bus is leaving folks. It might have a flat tire. It might have a faulty transmission. It might not be the smoothest ride in the world, but there's no time to worry about that right now. It's departing, and you're either getting on or you're GTFO. I don't want to hear any "I am a Rutgers fan and I think Kyle Flood should be fired". Nope. Fuck you. Find a new team. Find a new family. We don't need the company of those who waver. You support Rutgers football then you support Kyle Flood, because Kyle Flood has done everything within his power to support Rutgers football over the last decade.
As the Head Coach of the football program should Kyle Flood be held responsible for the actions of his players? Yes, of course he should. That's why I would understood if he were let go, but it's certainly not something I wanted to see happen. At the end of the day, when you give a bunch of 18-21 year olds freedom for the first time, it is up to them to use that freedom responsibly. I think it says a lot about Flood that he sat, what looks to be, his starting quarterback, as well as his All Big Ten wide receiver, as punishment for missing curfew. He didn't have to do that. He did it because he is a disciplinarian. He did that because he understands that student athletes should be held to a high standard. Five players were arrested. One for committing a bunch of home invasions. The other four for getting into a fight. While that isn't appropriate behavior for players that are supposed to be representing the University, it's something that they did under their own (and undoubtedly alcohol's) volition. You want to tell me that Kyle Flood deserves to lose his job then you are basically telling me that he was supposed to be the 24/7/365 babysitter of Dre Boggs, a kid that is clearly beyond coaching.
It's not uncommon in sports for a team to rally around controversy. Don't let the actions of a few speak for the perception of the whole, as they say. By all accounts, it's looking like the players on the Rutgers football team are using the arrests of their teammates as a way to bring them closer together. Firing their head coach, who constantly preaches the importance of togetherness, not only destroys the camaraderie of the locker room, but calls into question their ability to overcome adversity. You want to question the culture surrounding the football program then you don't understand what the word culture means. You know what happens to a group when they don't have a strong foundation? They crumble due to the smallest of hardships. Thus far, the perseverance of these players has spoken volumes about the culture of this team, and every word of it has been reassuring. This team has done the right things since the news broke. This team has said the right things since the new broke. They have stood up for one another. They have stood up for their Head Coach. They have stood up for the integrity of Rutgers University and it's athletics department. If you aren't on board with the coach that helped raised these young men to handle a difficult situation with such ease then you can take that Rutgers hat off and piss into the wind. This bus is leaving, and if you aren't happy with whose driving then find another mode of transportation, because if you're not with us then you're against us. That's how FAMILY works, and we don't currently have room for friends or acquaintances.