NCAA Coach Mike Rice fired for abusing players



In July 2012 ex-NBA player Eric Murdock who was hired by Mike Rice 2 years earlier as the Rutgers University Men's director of player development was fired. Murdock's lawyer states, because he "...complained of and reported illegal conduct by Mike Rice" This action set in motion a chain of events that will likely be one of the biggest basketball news events in 2013.

On April 2nd ESPN show "Outside the Lines" interviewed Murdock, a 44-year-old, nine-year NBA veteran and played clips of training sessions that Murdock had compiled. The tapes showed head Coach Mike Rice berating, pushing, kicking, cursing and throwing basketballs at players during practices. 

Murdock claims that he had showed Rutgers Athletic Director the tapes in November but no action was taken until December at which point Rice was suspended, according to an article written by Andy Katz, for treating players violently. 

Rice was fined $50,000 and banished from Rutgers University after the university athletic director told reporters that the suspension was because " involved some inappropriate behaviour and language". The day after show's report, Rutgers bowed to the enormous outcry from the basketball community and officially fired Rice as head coach.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti commented on the change in tack with Rice: "I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice," 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.

Rice's "outrageous" behaviour had caused at least three players to transfer from the team, including forward Gilvydas Biruta, who transferred to Rhode Island prior to last season. The Newark Star-Ledger, citing an anonymous source, reported Tuesday night that two more players had decided to leave the school at the end of the academic year, though it was unclear why.

Asked for comment yesterday (03-April-13) Rice said: "There's no explanation for what's on this film because there is no excuse for it, I was wrong." Rice said he let down his players, Rutgers, its fans and his family. 

"I want to tell everybody who has believed in me that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I've caused them"

Murdock's attorney, Raj Gadhok, said Tuesday that Murdock intends to sue Rutgers for wrongful termination as early as Friday.

John Amachi who spoke to CNN prior to Rice's firing, eloquently highlighted the fact that the only difference between Rice and some other coaches was that this event had been caught on camera and that any school teacher would be fired for this and yet sports coaches repeating these actions are found to be acceptable. 

Questions should be posed by the coaching community on how best to stamp out this sort of behaviour and on how to enable actions similar to those being displayed by Rice to be identified more easily without having to have whistle blowers like Eric Murdock lose their jobs and have the threat of never working in the sport again hanging over them a la Abar Rouse.


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