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Rutgers Coach Mike Rice Fired after Video Backlash
Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice has been axed in the wake of a backlash over a video that shows him shoving players and hurling basketballs and anti-gay slurs at them during practices.
"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said in a statement. "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 earlier said it would reconsider its decision not to fire Rice. 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.
The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN, prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James. The head of the New Jersey Assembly called for Rice to be fired.
In an interview with WFAN Radio in New York on Tuesday, Pernetti said university president Robert Barchi also viewed the tape last fall and agreed with the punishment.
In a statement Wednesday, Barchi said he only viewed exerpts of the tape last fall and did not see the entire video until Tuesday.
"Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior," he said. "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."
ESPN's broadcast prompted an outcry, led by the governor himself.
You can watch video of the incidents here: