Rutgers men’s basketball head coach Mike Rice was fired Wednesday morning following the release of video showing Rice being abusive to his players in practice. The video was featured as a segment on “Outside The Lines” includes Rice physically attacking his players, throwing basketballs at their heads, man handling and shoving players during practice.
The video was so shocking even Lebron James voiced his opinion on Twitter, stating that had that have been one of his son’s, Rice would’ve had to see him.
If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 2, 2013
Rutgers had access to the footage last December and responded by suspending Rice for three games and fining him $50,000. The video was turned over to the school last Summer by former director of player development Eric Murdock. Murdock, a former nine-year NBA veteran who spent time with the Miami Heat, Clippers and others, contract was not renewed last summer and has filed suit against the college.
Murdock was interviewed for the “OTL” piece:
“To witness that video and see your coach physically putting his hands on players, physically kicking players, firing balls at players at point-blank range, the verbal abuse, the belittling. Yeah, I was in total shock that this guy wasn’t fired,” Murdock said on ESPN.
Three players transferred from Rutgers because of the abuse. What’s clear in the video, the players weren’t knuckleheads. It’s not as if Rice was meeting them at their level or that it was a one time incident.
Rutgers athletic director, Tim Pernetti, defended Rice initially stating that they believed they had dealt with the issue but obviously, public outcry changed his feelings on that.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Pernetti said in a statement released Wednesday. “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.”