Rutgers coach Mike Rice was caught on film physically and emotionally abusing his players. Ranging from calling his players "f*ggots," "p*ssies," and "b*tches" to throwing balls at players' heads and even kicking some of his kids, Rice's behavior is jarring.
Outside The Lines was able to obtain the video and talked with former players and coaches about Rice's behavior. One player directly attributed Rice as the reason for transferring away.
On a 30-minute video Murdock said he showed Pernetti and other Rutgers officials in December, Rice is seen hurling a ball from point-blank range just passed Biruta's head, shoving him and repeatedly swearing at him. At another point, Rice hurls a ball that strikes Biruta's knee. He appears momentarily hurt and has to sit out a play.
"The one thing I hated," Murdock said of Rice, "he would always talk about 'Lithuanian this, Lithuanian that,' talk about where he's from, 'soft-ass Lithuanian b----,' 'soft-ass Lithuanian p----.' His nickname was basically 'Lithuanian f----t.'"
Biruta said the main reason he left Rutgers was because of Rice's treatment. "Mostly it was because of the way he was leading the team," he said. "I didn't think that was a way to lead."
Rice was investigated for these claims back in December by the Rutgers Athletic Department and AD Tim Pernetti.. Their decision was a $50,000 fine and a three-game suspension.
After seeing the videotape, Pernetti conducted an investigation that lasted less than week before he announced Rice's three-game suspension and $50,000 fine. When Pernetti announced Rice's suspension, he told reporters "it involved some inappropriate behavior and language" between Rice and his players, but he offered few specifics. It is not known whether Pernetti interviewed players or independently reviewed other videotapes of Rice's behavior during practices.
Pernetti also insisted that he had never considered firing Rice. "This is a difficult situation for all of us," he said. "At the same time, Mike understands and signed up for what the Rutgers standard is, which is all about accountability. He understands as he holds his players accountable, I hold him accountable."
Other players quoted in the piece say they weren't bothered by Rice's tactics, and one player said his practices at Kansas State were harder (anyone surprised Frank Martin has intense practices?).
But the public response to the video has been overwhelmingly negative, with comments taking over Twitter on Tuesday. As a result, Rutgers fired Rice on Wednesday morning. Here is Pernetti's statement.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti. “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.”
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
No way Mike Rice should keep his job. No way. Sorry man, not acceptable…Coaching fraternity is tight,that stuff is unacceptable— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) April 2, 2013
Repost from earlier: Tim Pernetti standing by Rutgers coach Mike Rice should lead to both men being removed. Column: cbsprt.co/Z4XBal— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) April 2, 2013
How badly does an employee have to mistreat a student at Rutgers to lose his job? cbsprt.co/YZNVYD— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) April 2, 2013
O'Neil: With Mike Rice, we must draw a line espn.go.com/mens-college-b…— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) April 2, 2013
Rutgers fired Mike Rice out of embarrassment. If you only do the right thing when it's convenient, that's telling.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) April 3, 2013
yanno, ppl keep asking how no one swung at mike rice. wanna know my guess? he didn't throw it at THOSE dudes.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) April 3, 2013
NBA players react to footage of violent, homophobic Rutgers coach Mike Rice. m.espn.go.com/wireless/story…— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) April 3, 2013