US: University Athletic Director follows basketball coach and is fired for abuse video

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

The Athletic Director of Rutgers University has been sacked following the dismissal earlier this week of a basketball coach who was caught on camera subjecting students to homophobic and physical abuse.

Mike Rice, the former basketball coach at Rutgers University was suspended for three games, was fined $50,000 (£33,000), and was made to undergo management classes in December.

Earlier this week, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said Rice would remain in his job, however he has now been fired for his actions in the video.

Pernetti has also been sacked for his handling of the situation, confirms the Associated Press. Also, on Thursday, the assistant coach Jimmy Martelli resigned.

The video, passed on to Pernetti by Eric Murdock, former director of player development, showed Rice swearing and throwing basketballs at players’ heads, shoving, kicking and grabbing them on the basketball court.

The tape also shows him calling a player a “fucking fairy”, and a “ fucking faggot”, whilst aggressively reprimanding players.

Upon the dismissal of Rice, Pernetti said in a statement: ”I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. 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.”

Since being dismissed, Rice has made an emotional for his actions. He said: ”I can’t say anything right now, except I’m sorry. … I’ve let everybody down.”

Some have also called on university president Robert Barchi, to step down. Thirteen faculty members on Wednesday demanded that the president step down over the “inexcusable handling” of the Mike Rice case, which the university was aware of months ago, but the video of which did not publicly come to light until this week.

On Wednesday, Barchi, who took up his post in September, said he had agreed with the decision to suspend Rice originally, but that once he saw the video this week, he decided it was only appropriate to sack him.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James were among those who condemned the coach’s conduct.