Mike Rice, the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Rutgers University in New Jersey, was fired this past Wednesday. This was after a video surfaced a day earlier showing the coach shoving players, throwing basketballs at their heads, berating them, kicking them, and using homophobic slurs and other profane language during team practices.
The video, which was released by the television network ESPN, depicted Rice’s behavior during numerous Rutgers practices. Several hours of footage depicted Rice’s abusive antics, for which Rutgers Athletic Director Tom Pernetti fined Rice $50,000 and suspended him for three games.
Pernetti levied the fine and suspension against Rice after watching the video footage back in November 2012. But he decided to fire the coach after the video caused significant backlash against the school, coach and athletic department in the mainstream media.
The video was made by Eric Murdock, a former NBA player who worked under Rice at Rutgers as the director of player development. He was later fired from the program, prompting his release of the video to ESPN.
Murdock insists that he was fired for complaining to the administration about Rice’s outrageous misconduct. Murdock further indicated that he plans to sue Rutgers University for wrongful termination.
Former Rutgers player, Frank Mitchell, defended Rice, saying that the abusive behavior was not the norm, and that these were only isolated incidents of physical contact and throwing basketballs.
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