Mike Rice was fired as the Rutgers basketball coach Wednesday, one day after ESPN aired a video that showed him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players and directing anti-gay slurs toward them during practice.
Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti was given the video in November by Eric Murdock, a former NBA player who was at one time the director of player development under Rice. Pernetti hired independent investigators to analyze the tape and, with the blessing of university President Robert Barchi, suspended Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.
But the airing of the video sparked a public outcry, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“Gov. Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior,” spokesman Michael Drewniak said. “It's not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University.”
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) took it a step further.
“Mike Rice should no longer be employed by Rutgers University,” Oliver said. “He must go. Meanwhile, the decision not to dismiss him last year needs a complete and thorough review.”