Update, 12:50 p.m. EST: University president Robert Barchi issued a statement Wednesday that said, in part: "Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior. I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public accountability.”
As The Star-Ledger's Steve Politi wrote, this statement appears to contradict Pernetti's statement that Barchi had seen the evidence in December.
Original Story: Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired, an athletics department spokesman announced on Twitter.
Yesterday, ESPN's Outside the Lines aired a video that showed Rice physically and verbally abusing his players. (See the video above).
Shortly after the news was announced, Rice addressed his firing in an interview posted by ABC. He called his actions "deeply regrettable."
"Can't say anything right now, except, I'm sorry," he said in the interview. "...I've let so many people down. My players, the administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family who's sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them. It's troubling, but at some time, maybe I'll try to explain it. But right now, there's no explanation for what's on those films because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong."
Late last year, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti saw video that showed Rice throwing basketballs at players, kicking a player and using a slur at a player. The school suspended Rice for three games.
[Andy Staples: Rice's abuse casts shadow over all of Rutgers athletics]
When the video came to light yesterday, reaction was harsh, with sportswriters and athletes speaking out against Rice's actions and calling for his firing.
"Governor Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior," Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak told reporters Tuesday. "It's not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University."
Some writers, including USA TODAY's Dan Shanoff, have argued Pernetti should also be fired for failing to fire Rice when university officials first saw the tape.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy tweeted two quotes from Pernetti moments after the university announced Rice's firing.