Firing Mike Rice: Did Rutgers do the right thing?

The New Jersey university fires its men's basketball coach after a video emerges showing him abusing his players, verbally and physically

Rutgers' head coach Mike Rice yells his directions court side during a March 12 game.
(Image credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

Rutgers fired its head basketball coach, Mike Rice, on Wednesday, a day after leaked video showed him shouting anti-gay slurs and throwing basketballs at his players — and even kicking them — during practices. The New Jersey state university's athletic director, Tim Pernetti, suspended Rice for three games and fined him $50,000 after former assistant Eric Murdock showed university officials the video nearly four months ago. Pernetti said he had hoped the earlier punishment would lead to Rice's rehabilitation, but that he was wrong to keep him on and would now "work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community."

The video, obtained and aired by ESPN, provoked a wave of outrage on and off campus. The head of the state Assembly had called for Rice to be fired, and everyone from the state's governor, Chris Christie, to Miami Heat star LeBron James sharply criticized Rice for the abuse. Rutgers President Robert Barchi said the video clips showed "a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior." After Rutgers decided to fire Rice and begin searching for a replacement, Christie said "it was the right and necessary action" to get rid of the coach.

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.