Mike Rice, Rutgers Basketball Coach, Homophobia-Laced Tirade on Players to be Aired on ESPN (UPDATE: Coach Fired, Finally)

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    Apr 02, 2013 7:02 PM GMT

    It was already previewed by media members and it's not too good. Rutgers has said he'll stay for now, as he was suspended already (3 games) and fined $50,000 for this behavior. The lead-in suggests he was throwing basketballs at players' heads during a practice. Rutgers may have issues recruiting (above their usual issues doing so) now that the video is out.

    It gets aired at 3PM EST on ESPN's Outside the Lines (OTL).
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    Apr 02, 2013 7:32 PM GMT

    ESPNNEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- "Outside the Lines" has obtained several-dozen hours of Rutgers men's basketball practices from 2010-2012 that show dozens of incidents in which head coach Mike Rice hurls basketballs from close range at his players' heads, legs and feet; shoves and grabs his players; feigns punching them; kicks them; and screams obscenities and homophobic slurs.

    About 30 minutes of the video was viewed in December by athletic director Tim Pernetti, who suspended Rice for three games that month and fined him $50,000. But the incidents in the videos obtained by "Outside the Lines" appear to go beyond Pernetti's description at the time of "inappropriate behavior and language" between Rice and his players. When he announced the suspension on Dec. 13, Pernetti offered few specifics after conducting a week-long investigation.

    In addition to Rice's physical actions seen in the practices, Rice calls Rutgers players "fa--ots," "mother----ers," "pu--ies," "sissy b-tches," and "c----," among other epithets.

    Eric Murdock, an ex-NBA player and a former director of player development for the Scarlet Knights, told "Outside the Lines" that Rice's "outrageous" behavior had caused at least three players to transfer from the team, including forward Gilvydas Biruta, who transferred to Rhode Island prior to last season.

    "He would throw his cap at me and he would call me many names," said Biruta, who was born in Lithuania but played high school basketball in New Jersey. "The adjectives were creative. They were mean words." Biruta said Rice's insults were often not about his game but about him personally. "If you're going to criticize me as a basketball player, I'm OK with that," he said, "but he would criticize me as a person."

    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 (past) 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--ch," soft-ass Lithuanian pu--y.' His nickname was basically 'Lithuanian fa--ot.' "

    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."

    Some players were deeply affected by Rice's treatment of them, Murdock said, adding that he watched it undermine their desire to play. "There were some players who couldn't sleep at night, who wasn't eating ,who didn't want to come to the gym," he said, adding that he told Pernetti about that, too, in December.

    A Rutgers spokesman did not immediately respond this week to a request for comments from Rice, Pernetti and the president of Rutgers, Robert L. Barchi. After learning of "Outside the Lines'" plans to report on the video, Rutgers athletic officials hastily arranged a video showing for beat writers on campus Tuesday afternoon. ESPN was not invited to attend the showing. A message left for Pernetti went unreturned Tuesday afternoon.

    ESPNMurdock, a 44-year-old, nine-year NBA veteran, was fired by Rice and Pernetti in early July. Murdock's attorney, Raj Gadhok, said Tuesday that Murdock intends to sue Rutgers for wrongful termination as early as Friday. "Mr. Murdock was terminated for having complained of and reported illegal conduct by Mike Rice," Gadhok said. "As a result, his employment was terminated by Rutgers University. That is unlawful in the state of New Jersey and Eric intends to pursue legal action for his wrongful termination, which the university and its representatives have been aware of for some time now. We have no further comment at this time."

    Murdock first notified Pernetti about the allegations of Rice's mistreatment of players last summer, he said. But he said Pernetti did nothing about the allegations until December, when Murdock said he showed the 30-minute video to Pernetti and several other Rutgers officials.

    Pernetti watched the images "in absolute disbelief," Murdock recalled. The video compiled by Murdock included dozens of brief snippets of Rice's interactions with players in practices during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

    "You put your [athletic director] shoes on and you witness this video of this coach abusing these players physically, mentally, emotionally, 99.9 percent would have fired that coach on the spot," Murdock said during an interview at his home last weekend in Bridgewater, N.J. Murdock also said that Pernetti should lose his job for failing aggressively investigate the allegations and failing to fire Rice.

    ESPNIn March 2010, Pernetti hired Rice, 44, then the head coach at Robert Morris, where television cameras once caught him angrily chasing referees off the court after a game. At Rutgers, Rice just completed the third season of a five-year contract that will pay him $700,000 this coming season. Despite an 11-3 start, Rutgers went 5-13 in the Big East last season and finished 15-16.

    Murdock, a Providence College star and a first-round draft choice of the Utah Jazz in 1991, said he had never seen any coach treat players the way Rice treated his players. "I mean, unbelievable to me that somebody would feel that that technique can be successful," he said. "What this guy did the last two years is criminal -- it was criminal."

    During the two years he worked for Rice, Murdock said he and the assistant coaches repeatedly urged the coach to try to control his anger with players, but "not much would change."

    "Bullying players made him feel better," Murdock said. "If he made a kid feel miserable, he was able to sleep at night better, even though the kid is going the other way and he's not going to be as productive ... He has real anger-management issues. He can't control his temper ... I can't believe that anywhere else in the country it is worse than this -- it's the absolute worst."
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    Apr 02, 2013 7:35 PM GMT
    ESPNBut in interviews with "Outside the Lines," six current and former Rutgers players said they found no problem with Rice's coaching techniques. Frank Mitchell, a walk-on who played for Rutgers during Rice's first year, said practices were tough and physical, but players adapted. He said Rice never laid hands on him or cursed at him directly. He transferred to Ithaca College but said it had nothing to do with Rice.

    Tyree Graham, who was injured for two seasons but attended practice every day for Rice's team, said that at times Rice "crossed the line," and once the coach hit him hard in the back with a basketball. But Graham, 24, said he understood why Rice used those tactics because people "disrespected" Rutgers in the Big East and he wanted to simulate opponents' disrespectful attitudes during practice.

    "No, I'm not personally offended by it," Graham said in a telephone interview from his home in Durham, N.C. "I was brought up like that. Coming from Durham, North Carolina, you have to have that chip on your shoulder. If you don't, you're not going anywhere. I backed what Coach Rice did for the most part."

    But "I can't say it got results," he said. "It didn't work. If those tactics don't work, it should stop."

    Robert Lumpkins, who transferred to Rutgers from New Mexico State, said Rice was a passionate coach but he didn't have a problem with his coaching style. Lumpkins said he was surprised to hear Rice was suspended last December. He also said he never heard Rice use the word "fa--ot" during practices.

    Wally Judge, a junior current Rutgers player, had transferred from Kansas State, where he said the practices were harder. He said he didn't think Rice's language was inappropriate, and the coach never put his hands on him.

    Mike Culburn, whose last season at Rutgers was Rice's first in 2010-11, said he had no issues with the coach's treatment of players, and because he was a team captain, he took the brunt of it. He said Rice was challenging them to excel and, though he acknowledged how Rice's coaching style may look to outsiders, he said players understood it.

    Malick Kone, a player who just announced he is transferring from Rutgers, said he found the practices to be too intense and he didn't like the language Rice used. Malick, who was born in Guinea, said Rice would make fun of how he spoke English and would mock him after Malick would ask for things to be explained. He said Rice threw basketballs at people and could have hurt a player, though he was never hurt.

    Murdock said Pernetti first heard about the allegations of Rice's treatment of players during practice formally last summer, but he chose to do "nothing about it for months."
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    Apr 02, 2013 8:02 PM GMT
    If it's true that Murdock presented the AD more than that 30 minutes of tape, the Coach needs to get bought out (at least) and the AD needs to find a new line of work. The punishment certainly doesn't appear to fit the "crimes."
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    Apr 02, 2013 8:14 PM GMT
    Estimated Time before Repetitive Thread in Another SubForum: 3 hours, 37 minutes, 52 seconds icon_lol.gif
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    Apr 03, 2013 3:23 AM GMT
    Ive been busy all day elsewhere so will catch up with longer post about this tomorrow and my thoughts

    Murdock has an axe to grind. Whether what Rice did or not was appropriate, believe me Murdock is not the saint looking out for players interests like he tries to portray himself as...oh and note he waiting two years to report this...after he was fired.

    Pernetti the RU ad levied a very harsh fine on Mike Rice...in fact an unprecedented fine that had not been levied before...and this was out in Decemeber....gee where was the outrage then

    The negative public opinion probably causes Rice to be fired. I actually expect him to resign tomorrow. I believe he will have a heartfelt apology. He has changed noticeable over the past year and half so the changes were well under way. Recruiting wise it definitely hurt last year but it was starting to improve of late with some signings after all this info was out there

    Rutgers knew these tapes existed and were expecting their release, this is no surprise. Pernetti did give Rice a hefty suspension and penalty but looks like that was not enough. Not seeing why he should be fired

    I am sure coaches across the country are burning practice tape as we speak

    No excuse for what he did and certainly the slurs are actually the worst as they seem to be focusing on the grabbing and throwing basketballs. Many former and current players tweeting and commenting in support of Rice.
  • Parker817

    Posts: 359

    Apr 03, 2013 11:32 AM GMT
    I'm just finally getting wind of this on the news this morning. As a Jersey native, I'm sickened. And as a lawyer, I'm furious about the allegations - firing a whistleblower and merely suspending a man for three games when he so clearly assaulted those players -- I mean, that's criminal.
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    Apr 03, 2013 11:48 AM GMT
    first of all assault is extreme here...pushing and shoving..yes...and the tape is compiled of the worst moments and spliced together

    secondly Murdock the whistleblower was not fired for the tape...and in fact Murdock acts like he is so concerned but he actually waiting two years to bring the info forward. Why is that...oh because he was fired, that's why. And he initially went to RU with the tape trying to extort money.

    I am not defending what went on. Rice did go over the line at times. However this was not a coverup. Most of this info was out in December. The suspension and fine of 3 games and 50K and 3 weeks away from practice was considered extremely severe when handed down. This was not a slap on the wrist. The RU AD did bring in a counselor for Rice and also brought in investigators for this case.

    In the end Rice will either resign or be fired today.
  • ohioguy12

    Posts: 2024

    Apr 03, 2013 12:03 PM GMT
    I expect Rice to be fired. Not just for the video, but because he is 44-51 in three seasons. Even without the video, unless there was a remarkable turnaround, he would be fired after next season anyway
  • Parker817

    Posts: 359

    Apr 03, 2013 12:22 PM GMT
    Jerseywoof - you're hot, but I respectfully disagree.

    Assault is simply placing someone in apprehension of violence. You can clearly see those players flinch when Rice lunges at them or throws the ball at them. I would even go so far as to argue battery, the physical unlawful touching of another. Maybe not the shoving (it's arguable), but for sure the throwing of a basketball at a student's head. How can you defend that? There should be an absolute zero-tolerance policy on that.

    Second, according to the information I have, Murdock went to the Rutgers officials with this information about a year ago. After that, it took Pernetti almost 6 months to complete his investigation and come down with his decision. And then Murdock's contract was not renewed. I'm interested to see this play out in court, but it smells of violations of the whistleblower's statute. (And where are you getting your claims of extortion?)

    You're wrong if you think that Murdock is only now just releasing the information to the press. It was Rutgers itself that put out the videos to the media, trying to preempt ESPN's airing of the videos this weekend. It's a public relations thing, trying to minimize the bad press.
  • MuscleComeBac...

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    Apr 03, 2013 12:24 PM GMT
    Rutgers will take swift action, more than likely before the broadcast. The President doesn't want to be a casualty, and the Regents are likely putting tremendous pressure on him as we type. Rutgers cannot afford to be the next Penn and in a weak economy, alumni dollars are precious and few.

    Coaching through pure intimidation is not abusive - it's stupid and foolish, but not abusive. But Mike Rice was not merely intimidating - he was targeting and borderline psychotic. This is a seriously disturbed and deeply troubled individual who went beyond being intimidating and was verbally and physically violent and abusive to men under his leadership. This is text-book pathology that has no place in collegiate or professional coaching. This is not a man - this is a coward. Whatever redemption he seeks in his exit, the NCAA should ban him for life. If he can be helped, that's good. But he's used up his time outs and the game is over.

    As for Pernetti, he needs to go, too. His management decisions are lacking at best. This stinks of cover-up and panic. As if money solved the problem in this privilege boys club. Do your job - protect your players and the integrity of your programs. Again, not a man or a leader, a tool.

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    Apr 03, 2013 1:02 PM GMT
    I'm not certain of anyone, least of all Murdock himself, suggesting he should apply for sainthood. He does have an axe to grind, indeed. But my, what an axe!

    I believe he was right to suggest not only compensation but at least evidence that the program was correcting itself from what he (and now, we) have witnessed. And I trust the apology Rice issued to the program was not satisfactory in Murdock's mind.

    Forbes (12/14/2012)First, there was the much-televised incident last month of Morehead State coach Sean Woods shoving a player on the sideline which resulted in a one-game suspension. And yesterday Rutgers University coach Mike Rice was suspended for three games, fined $50,000 and banned from any contact with the program for foul language and inappropriate behavior, which included throwing basketballs at players’ heads during practice.

    The problems for Rice may be just beginning, however, as former NBA star Eric Murdock, RU’s director of player development until he was fired last summer, promised to release tapes of Rice mistreating players if not compensated by the university.

    Woods got plenty of media heat for the in-game shove (as did Mike Montgomery of Cal), and Murdock recognized that thrice the punishment for significantly more evidence of physical and verbal abuse was insufficient.

    Forbes (12/14/2012)Quoted in The Newark Star-Ledger, Murdock said, “There is some concern for these players — that’s the biggest thing — as far as how they’re being treated. Eventually a lot of stuff will come to light and it’s not going to shed a good light on Rutgers University.”

    We now know it wasn't so much a "firing" (which the media reported) as it was simply that Murdock's contract (probably annual, for collegiate player development coordinators) was not renewed. Murdock's actions would be more suspect had he taken the videos and immediately run to the news crews after his contract was not renewed. Instead, he followed the correct path for rectification. He spent two seasons complaining to his superior to change his behavior...

    ESPNDuring the two years he worked for Rice, Murdock said he and the assistant coaches repeatedly urged the coach to try to control his anger with players, but "not much would change."

    ...then, he went to the athletic director, including while employed and when he was no longer obligated to report to him.

    ESPNMurdock said Pernetti first heard about the allegations of Rice's treatment of players during practice formally last summer, but he chose to do "nothing about it for months."

    However telling it is that Murdock took two seasons before bringing the problems to the higher-ups, it is all the more stark that actual assistant coaches witnessed the very same incidents conducted by Rice and remain on the bench beside him... perhaps, for never reporting their reservations to the department.

    Murdock is free not only of the RU contract, but of any further intimidation from the head coach and the athletic department to keep evidence of what he witnessed in-house.

    ESPNAfter seeing the videotape, Pernetti conducted an investigation that lasted less than (a) 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.

    It's also noteworthy that Murdock didn't even have to give the program time to complete their season. This particular media circus could have gone on while Rice was still coaching and the players Murdock cared about were still trying to compete.

    While I'm disappointed in Rice, he took the punishment handed down to him by the AD, and the best anyone can do at this point is buy him out. My insistence on termination is directed toward not Rice, but Pernetti, one of the youngest ADs in D-I and one of the finalists for national AD of the year. However, Pernetti's crucial role in transitioning Rutgers into the Big 10 conference is part of the reason it will be hard for anyone above him to do anything about this.

    Never mind whether repeatedly hurling basketballs like Patches O'Hoolihan ("If you can dodge an F-bomb, you can dodge a ball!") at unpadded players constitutes a fire-able offense.

    This is an athletic department whose far more successful women's hoops program was the victim of a single quotation that literally ran a longtime radio shock jock underground, presented with evidence of its men's hoops coach calling his charges "p-----s," "sissy b-----s," and "c---s." It doesn't bode well for the recruitment of athletes of either gender that Rice's punishment consisted of not more than a 10% salary fine and 3 non-conference games watching from home.

    This is also a program, under Pernetti, that canned the prior head basketball coach, Fred Hill, Jr., after he was "caught on tape" blistering a opposing college baseball coach with profanity (Hill's dad managed the baseball team for 27 years). It should be noted there was a buyout effort that Hill refused, but Penretti went ahead and fired him anyway. A single incident directed toward one individual precipitated Hill's dismissal. Yet Rice stays, for some reason.

    EDIT: This is also a university still smarting from the Tyler Clementi case, with a head basketball coach hurling F-bombs and fairy accusations at people whose orientation, I assume, he doesn't know. Not that it should matter if he did. This school continues to try to recruit high-quality LGBT students, athletes or otherwise, with the Clementi cloud hanging over. And now, this.

    Inadequate judgment in a sensitive personnel matter, resulting in public flagellation and diminution of competitive recruiting in a new high-profile conference, should be enough justification for Pernetti's dismissal.
  • Ducky49

    Posts: 32

    Apr 03, 2013 1:16 PM GMT
    If that was my kid he was doing that to...lets just say I would not have three meals and a cot for a while! This is insane! I'm surprised one of the kids did not shove him back! I would have! JERK!
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    Apr 03, 2013 1:46 PM GMT
    I just want to know who really thinks that's a decent way to coach somebody. Screaming faggot at them does NOT motivate them... I've found screaming in general by coaches makes me less likely to do what they say than more likely.

    That said, this guy needs to be gone. Fired and never offered a coaching job again. He needs to have consequences for his actions. What a piece of shit human.
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    Apr 03, 2013 1:59 PM GMT
    Breaking: Media outlets (via the Bergen (NJ) Record) reporting Rutgers players have just been told Rice will be fired. No word on Penretti but we'll see. Will update this space in a little bit.


    Bergen RecordThe Mike Rice era is apparently over.

    The embattled Rutgers men’s basketball coach will be fired, a source told Record columnist Tara Sullivan.

    And the Star-Ledger is reporting that Rice has been called into a meeting this morning with athletic director Tim Pernetti.
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    Apr 03, 2013 2:00 PM GMT
    dayumm saidBreaking: Media outlets reporting Rutgers players have just been told Rice will be fired. No word on Penretti but we'll see. Will update this space in a little bit.

    Thank god. Get him outta there!!!!
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    Apr 03, 2013 2:19 PM GMT
    Honey no wonder I always hated sports.I would have quit after day one.Rather go to the gym and chat with hot guys.icon_smile.gif Ryan
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    Apr 03, 2013 2:21 PM GMT

    Newark Star-LedgerMike Rice is out at Rutgers.

    The university issued a release Wednesday morning saying that the third-year head coach has been relieved of his position at the men's basketball coach.

    "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.
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    Apr 03, 2013 2:23 PM GMT
    As I guessed, Penretti's too important for the school moving to the B1G to be scuttled now. But it does appear if he hangs on, he has a LOT of work cut out for him on that campus.


    Statement from Rutgers, the State University of New JerseyPISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 3, 2013) – Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice.

    “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.”

    What's "recently revealed" that was not only "previously discovered"? Beyond the outrage that was sure to ensue when the video went public?

    It's also mentioned that the University president, Robert Barchi, was part-and-parcel with the decision in December to suspend the coach, following a review of the tape. Barchi probably needs to face the Board of Regents pronto.


    pre-firing commentary by Ian O'Connor (ESPN New York)This is no longer about Mike Rice, a pathetic excuse for a coach and unemployable on college campuses forevermore. This is about the senior administrators at Rutgers University, the people who failed to protect their students from a common abuser and homophobe.

    Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said the school president, Robert Barchi, saw the tape aired by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that showed Rice assaulting and profanely berating his students -- not NBA players, students -- and backed the decision to suspend Rice for three games and fine him $50,000. If true, Barchi needs to go right along with Pernetti and Rice.
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    Apr 03, 2013 2:24 PM GMT
    Congrats Rutgers you have known about these antics for over 2 years and you are now only doing something about it. Typical athletics, a coach is only fired when the media gets wind and blows the top off of the story.

    He should have been fired the first time he threw a basketball at a players head.

  • unicoman1

    Posts: 822

    Apr 03, 2013 2:46 PM GMT
    All seeing all that, a losing season, yea, keep him. The Scarlet Knights Showing their true colors.
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    Apr 23, 2013 3:24 PM GMT
    Nowwww they're cracking down.


    Newark Star-LedgerRutgers University’s athletic coaching scandal spread to the lacrosse field today as men’s head coach Brian Brecht was suspended over allegations of verbal abuse.

    Campus officials did not reveal if Brecht’s lacrosse players were the target of the alleged abuse or how the accusations against the second-year coach were brought to the attention of the school with just two games left in the season.

    "While I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, let me reiterate that there is no place at Rutgers for words or actions that are inconsistent with the values of the university," Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a statement. "Our student athletes, as all members of the Rutgers community, should know that our university is committed to promoting an atmosphere of respect and dignity."

    Brecht, who has been Rutgers’ lacrosse coach since June 2011, will continue to be paid his $130,000-a-year salary while campus police investigate the abuse allegations, school officials said.

    "As I stressed earlier, we will be looking closely at all intercollegiate athletics at Rutgers going forward. If we find problems, we will address them," Barchi said in his statement.

    Rutgers is reviewing practice tapes from all campus sports to look for physical and verbal abuse similar to the behavior that led to the firing of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice earlier this month after video emerged of him hurling basketballs at players heads and shouting gay slurs.

    Also, old news, but just for the sake of follow-up, the AD Pernetti and the school's chief counsel each stepped down.