The head basketball coach at Rutgers University in New Jersey has been fired after ESPN aired a video of him verbally and physically abusing players during practices.
“Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice,” the school said in a statement on its Twitter feed Wednesday.
The footage of coach Mike Rice was released by former director of player development Eric Murdock. It showed Rice kicking a player, throwing basketballs at players and using a homophobic slur and other curses, reports USA Today.
ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired the footage on its national program Tuesday.
Murdock, who was fired by Rice, also told ESPN that Rice’s behaviour caused at least three players to leave the program.
This wasn’t the first time athletic directors at Rutgers had seen the questionable behaviour from Rice. In December, Rice was dismissed for three games and fined $50,000 for what the school called “inappropriate behavior and language.”
Though, airing the footage on ESPN garnered wide-spread criticism and, ultimately, lead to the decision to remove Rice from his position. The National College Players Association released a statement on its Facebook page “calling on Rutgers University to fire Mike Rice immediately.”
And LeBron James wrote on Twitter: “If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon.”
Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie weighed in, with his spokesperson saying the governor was “deeply disturbed” by the footage. “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,” Christie’s spokesman, Michael Drewniak, told reporters Tuesday.