Mike Rice Fired At Rutgers [VIDEO]
Mike Rice has been fired as head men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University and says he is “deeply sorry” for his behavior.
As the dust settles on Rice’s firing, others are raising questions about how Rutgers handled the situation and why nothing was done back in December when the video first came to the attention of Rutgers.
“I’m puzzled as to how anyone could think Mr. Rice was someone who should be representing our state university on a national level,” said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who later said she could hold legislative hearings on the topic. “I expect a full and detailed explanation from the Rutgers administration as to why Mr. Rice was not dismissed sooner and how exactly that decision was made.”
The initial news of Rice’s firing was broken via a tweet by Jason Baum, senior associate athletic director of communications, “based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice.”
Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice.
— Jason Baum (@JasonBaumRU) April 3, 2013
Rice spoke to reporters outside his Little Silver home after the news of his firing was released. In video aired by WABC TV, Rice choked up as he said he was “deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I’ve caused.” He said he “I’ve let so many people down, my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family – who’s sitting in their house, just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them.”
In a separate statement, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said, “I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”
Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi in a statement says upon review of the video, “I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public accountability.” He said he and Prunetti reached the decision together.
“Right & Necessary Action”
Governor Chris Christie calls the move the “right and necessary action to take in light of the conduct displayed on the videotape.” He is “very optimistic that Rutgers will select a new head coach who not only puts a winning team on the court, but will make everyone proud of the example he sets every day for the young men in his charge.”
The firestorm over Rice’s future at Rutgers developed yesterday when ESPN aired a video showing numerous clips of Rice at practice firing basketballs at players, hitting them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders.
Rice was also shown pushing players in the chest and grabbing them by their jerseys and yanking them around the court. Rice could be heard screaming obscenities and gay slurs at players. Pernetti was given a copy of the video in late November by a former employee. He suspended Rice for three games a month later, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.
Statement From Governor Chris Christie
“This was a regrettable episode for the University, but I completely support the decision to remove Coach Rice. It was the right and necessary action to take in light of the conduct displayed on the videotape.
“Parents entrust their sons to the Rutgers Athletic Department and the men’s basketball program at an incredibly formative period of their lives. The way these young men were treated by the head coach was completely unacceptable and violates the trust those parents put in Rutgers University. All of the student-athletes entrusted to our care deserve much better.
“As we move on from this incident, I am very optimistic that Rutgers will select a new head coach who not only puts a winning team on the court, but will make everyone proud of the example he sets every day for the young men in his charge.”