(We most recently updated the top of this post at 11:10 a.m. ET.)
Responding to outrage from around the nation after videotape of men's basketball coach Mike Rice assaulting his players and spewing homophobic slurs at them was aired on ESPN, New Jersey's Rutgers University fired Rice at mid-morning Wednesday.
The 44-year-old "visibly distraught" Rice, WABC in New York reports, told reporters earlier in the day that:
"I've let so many people down, my players, my 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 I hope at some time, maybe I'll try and explain it. But right now, there's no explanation for what's on those films, because there's no excuse for it. I was wrong. And I want to tell everybody who's believed in me that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I've caused."
The video, from the team's practices, is disturbing. We followed the story as it developed today. Scroll down to see our earlier update and our original post.
Update at 10:20 a.m. ET. Rutgers Coach Mike Rice Is Fired:
The university just announced on its Rutgers Athletics Twitter page that:
"Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice."
Our original post: 'Fired' Could Be Next F-Word For Rutgers Coach Seen Berating Players:
Among the hundreds of hours of practice video that ESPN's Outside the Lines obtained are disturbing scenes showing the Rice "shoving, grabbing and throwing basketballs at players during practice and yelling gay slurs at them," as The Associated Press says.
Rutgers has known about Rice's behavior for months. In December, the school suspended him for three games and he was fined $50,000. Now, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is on record as saying he's "deeply disturbed" by what he's seen. And Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi has summed up what needs to happen this way:
"Mike Rice has to go. Get that out of the way first, because this is the easiest decision to fire a college coach since Ohio State football legend Woody Hayes reared back and punched a player."If athletic director Tim Pernetti doesn't snap out of this bizarre spin cycle and make that decision, then somebody at Rutgers – be it the university president, or a group of powerful alumni, or Gov. Chris Christie himself who weighed in late Tuesday with a damning statement – will make it for him."
The AP reports that Pernetti says the school is reconsidering its decision not to fire Rice. Rice came to Rutgers before the 2010-11 season, after three years ast the coach at Robert Morris University. His five-year contract runs through the 2014-15 season, according to the university.
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