Fired Rutgers Coach Mike Rice: “There Is No Excuse” For Slurs, Assaults

Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, who was fired yesterday after subjecting players to homophobic slurs and physical assaults, issued an emotional apology to the media:

As I stated three months ago after I watched the video…how deeply regrettable those actions… I also stated how I was going to try and work on changing and I think I have accomplished a lot of that.

I can’t say anything right now except I’m sorry… they’ll never be a time when I am going to use any of that as an excuse – or be any excuse.

I have let so many people down… my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans… my family who’s sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father… is an embarrassment to them.

It’s troubling but I will at some time…maybe I will try to explain it but right now there’s no explanation for what’s on those films because there is no excuse for it – I was wrong.

I want to tell everybody who’s believed in me… that I am deeply sorry for the pain and hardship that I have caused.

Rice’s behavior was first reported by former director of player development Eric Murdock, who compiled footage of Rice’s actions—including kicking players and calling one a “fucking fairy” and a “fucking faggot.”

Initially, Rice was just suspended for three games, sent to anger-management classes and fined $50,000. But when ESPN and other media outlets got a hold of the disturbing 40-minute video, the school made an about-face and fired Rice.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Tim 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 school’s PR nightmare is far from over, though, as more than a dozen faculty members are calling for Rutger’s President Robert Barchi resign for his “inexcusable handling” of the situation.

“If the roles were reversed and this was a professor and not a coach and this was a student in the classroom as opposed to a collegiate player this would be completely different. You wouldn’t say, ‘This was a first offense,”‘ radiologist Glenn Articolo, a 1991 Rutgers graduate, told CBS News. “There’s not a single employee at Rutgers University, from the president to the janitor, who wouldn’t be dismissed immediately. It seems there’s a double standard when it comes to the basketball coach or the football coach.”

What do  you think? Has justice been served or does there need to be more of an accounting for this outrage? Voice your opinion in the comment section below.

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  • the other Greg

    Wow, times really have changed for the better. When I was growing up, it seemed that every high school coach was like this – which also meant that every high school driver ed teacher was like this, since they were the exact same people – so I assumed all the college coaches were like this too (not that I wanted to find out).

    Now this is such a big deal they’re talking about the college prez needing to resign because of it? Cool!

  • jackpapa

    Mr. Rice sounds sincere. While his actions on the video are inexcusable – which he acknowledges – he seems to me a man who has undergone a change or at least a consciousness
    raising, and is that not something we would all wish for in the community on a grand scale? I wish him well, and hope that he finds another position. I cannot condemn a man forever for his mistakes, not if he has learned from them. I might also say that the the additional punishment of being fired – only in the light of publicity – seems like double jeopardy if his offenses were not repeated.

  • MikeE

    so this a$$hole is getting a $100,000 “bonus”, despite being FIRED???

    this university should be de-funded since they obviously have NO fu**ing idea what to do with their money.


    Mr. Articolo is right: there is a double standard between academics and athletics. It’s amazing how much more attention athletics gets than academics, and how much more money coaches at big universities make than English or History professors.

  • jwrappaport People will wonder when they look at the ruins of our universities in hundreds of years: Why does every academic institution have an enormous sports arena in the middle of it? Considering that most athletic programs operate at a financial loss, I have no idea how their presence is justified at so many of our schools.

  • Spike

    Apparently it only became inexcusable when ESPN picked up on the story, prior to that he was not apologizing.

  • bmwblonde

    My favorite (self-contradictory) lines in the coach’s apology is:

    “I also stated how I was going to try and work on changing . . .”

    Well, “trying to” change, and “working on” changing show more than the Coach realizes:

    To illustrate this, go outside and “Try to walk down the sidewalk.”
    (No, no, you’re actually WALKING — I want to watch you TRY to walk.

    OR, go outside and “Work on walking down the sidewalk.”

    Well kids — either you WALK, or you don’t. So all that complicated language shows cloudy thinking at best, or — our B.S. alarm should be going off like a klaxon.

    However, I’ll try to be, and work on being, more “tolerant” of the Coach.

  • greyhound1954

    Let’s not forget that Rutgers was the school of Tyler Clementi, who tragically committed suicide after being recorded in his room with a male friend. The fact that Rice felt comfortable using gay slurs speaks to his insensitivity to Clementi and other gay students.

  • Globaltraveler

    His salary last year was over $600,000 ($300,000 base). Incredible.

  • Caleb in SC

    @jwrappaport: The bigger sports, like football and basketball, bring in enough money to subsidize the lesser attended sports. Overall, the athletic department will a turn a profit.

  • Bob LaBlah

    The media reports that it was the faculty that more or less demanded his resignation. What bothers me about the reporting on that fact by the media is how the only faculty shown on camera were minorities. I’ll go even further. I find that an insult to my intelligence. One was latino, the other black. Translation: these people threatened to burn the campus if we didn’t act. I wasn’t born yesterday. Subtle messages come thru quite clear.
    What is it about Rutgers that cause the so called intelligent to act so stupid when called on to take a stance? During the Tyler Clementi tragedy women, not men, were paraded in front of the camera to represent the faculty for the most part. A few students were interviewed but you would THINK that the focus by the media would have been from the point of view of the gay student union of Rutgers. I was left wondering if one even existed.
    Not ONE white professor spoke out about this painfully out of control fool whose motto was win at all costs and dont piss me off ever. Hopefully at least one will surface by the Sunday morning talk shows. CBS News should be ashamed of their shoddy reporting. Fox Noise News channel I would expect this from, but not CBS, NBC or ABC.


    Finally he is out of the picture! now we`ll see who come out as gay?.

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