Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ESPN releases disturbing footage of Rutgers coach Mike Rice abusing players

Rutgers men's head basketball coach Mike Rice was suspended for 16 days and ordered to undergo anger management classes and sensitivity training for exhibiting extreme behavior discovered during an internal athletics investigation at the university last December.  Now ESPN has released video footage which led to the school disciplining the hotheaded coach.

On ESPN's "Outside the Lines" Tuesday, Jeremy Schaap showed clips of Rice berating his players with  slurs, throwing balls at players' heads and even kicking them.

While interviewing Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti, Schaap said ESPN had "hours and hours of footage" showing Rice "abusing his players in practice ... assaulting them."

Eric Murdock, an ex-NBA player and a former director of player development for the Scarlet Knights reportedly witnessed the abuse firsthand and brought the video clips to Pernetti in November.

"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.' "

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 a player's head, shoving him and repeatedly swearing at him. At another point, Rice hurls a ball that strikes the player's knee. He appears momentarily hurt and has to sit out a play.

In December, NJ.com reported:

Multiple individuals have confirmed to The Star-Ledger that it was because Rice threw basketballs at players heads during a practice in his first or second season as Scarlet Knights coach.  Rice also used abusive language towards players that went beyond the allowable limit for a head coach at the university.

Pernetti, who stood by Rice during the suspension and had an independent monitor watch over his coach when his punishment was through told Schaap that Rice has since cleaned up his act.

Pernetti said on Tuesday afternoon that his investigation of Rice began in the summer and culminated with his December punishment. Pernetti said Rice's actions were not aligned with what the university believes is acceptable, but that the behavior was a "first offense" and was handled appropriately.

Murdock claims he was fired by Rice and Pernetti in July and is pursuing legal action for wrongful termination.

"His contract was not renewed," Pernetti simply told Schaap.

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