Just a day after a tape surfaced depicting Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice spewing gay slurs, firing balls at players’ heads, and even kicking and grabbing team members, the university made an about-face and fired Rice.
The 40-minute video of Rice heaping abuse on his players—including calling one a “fucking fairy” and “fucking faggot”—was complied from his first three years on the job, and led to his suspension in December.
But as recently as this week Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said he was satisfied that Rice had learned his lesson, after attending anger-management classes and paying a $50,000 fine.
Apparently the public-relations disaster of the tape surfacing was just too much to ignore.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” 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.”
The tape outraged LGBT activists, pro ballers and even governor Chris Christie, especially considering Rutgers is where Tyler Clementi was attending when he committed suicide.
Still left unanswered, though is the question of Eric Murdock, a former director of player development at Rutgers who says he was fired for reporting Rice’s behavior last summer. The video was actually produced by Murdock’s lawyers and he is considering legal action.