So was Montgomery's shove a "motivational tool" or abuse?

So was Montgomery's shove a "motivational tool" or abuse?
February 19, 2013, 11:15 am
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I don't have any answers here, only questions.

I've watched the video several times of California Coach Mike Montgomery pushing his star player, Allen Crabbe, in a game Saturday night. As the player comes off the floor during a timeout, it appears to me Montgomery gives him a pretty good jolt to the chest. Crabbe reacted angrily and had to be led up a tunnel by a teammate to be cooled off. A few seconds later, Montgomery put him right back in the game.

It appeared Montgomery certainly knew the personality of the player he pushed. Crabbe didn't show any inclination for retaliation, really. And after the game it was declared by both sides a motivational tool, even to the point where Montgomery said, "It worked, didn't it?"

I'm just not sure. Montgomery is certainly a well-respected coach not known for abusing his players. And really, in the old days this wouldn't have been thought of as any big deal. But at the same time, the old days are gone, replaced by political correctness and a sensitivity to abuse of players that would certainly not condone this kind of thing. And, too, I've always felt a coach really does need to learn to motivate without putting his hands on his players. I mean, that's as slippery as the slope gets, isn't it? You're going to tell me that shove "wasn't that bad" but then what kind of shove is "that bad"?

And what if Crabbe, who is probably a peaceful sort, would have retaliated with a shove of his own? Or worse, a punch to Montgomery's grill? Who would be at fault, then? Would you blame Crabbe or Montgomery?

Whatever, even though "it worked." I bet it's something we won't see Montgomery do again.