I was contemplating a blog post about an emotion I call retroactive anger, and then the news broke that Rutgers had fired their head coach Mike Rice after a video was released showing serious anger management issues. It is clear to me that Mike Rice wasn’t fired due to the incident itself, but because of retroactive anger.
Retroactive anger is when a person, company or community decides to get mad at you long after an incident has taken place, usually as a result of gossip and henning (henning is a word I made up to describe people who cackle like hens about others to complain about them instead of addressing them directly). When an incident happens, there usually is a reaction, but then retroactive anger seems to occur when someone re-reads an email for the 100th time or talks to others about the issue, even after it has already been addressed with the person responsible.
Mike Rice’s actions were inexcusable, but he was fined, suspended and ordered to take anger management. He returned to work and no known further incidents were reported. He was then fired months later because of retroactive anger, which in my opinion is dead wrong.