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Mike Rice fired for treatment of Rutgers players in video footage

Meredith Dobes

Mike Rice (top left) was fired today after much public scrutiny for a video of his behavior toward players was released yesterday on ESPN.

Mike Rice, Rutgers men’s basketball coach, was fired today after undergoing public scrutiny for his actions in a video compiled with footage from 2010-2012 in which he kicks, grabs, shoves, throws basketballs at and yells expletives at his players.

The video footage of Rice was released to the world on ESPN Tuesday, but the compiled footage is not new. Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti saw the video in December and fined Rice $50,000 and suspended him for three games.

Pernetti was interviewed by WFAN radio Tuesday, and he said only he was accountable for the decisions he made in the discipline of Rice in December.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie released a statement responding to the video and condemning the behavior Rice exemplified.

“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,” the statement said.

So where did this video footage come from?

Eric Murdock, former Rutgers director of player personnel, compiled it and released the video to Pernetti last November. The video is about 30 minutes long.

Murdock’s lawyer, Raj Gadhok, said Murdock had been told his contract would be renewed before he released the video to Pernetti. Afterward, his contract was not renewed. Murdock plans to sue Rutgers for wrongful termination.

In the video footage, Rice uses a homophobic slur when talking to his players, and according to Pernetti, this slur was the main reason for Rice’s suspension in December.

Rutgers revealed that the reasons for Rice’s termination were new information and a review of the information that surfaced last year.

Prior to public release of the video and backlash, Pernetti had continued to maintain that Rice would remain in his coaching position.

Today, Pernetti said, “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.”

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