WASHINGTON (AP / WUSA 9) — The Associated Press (AP) reported Wednesday evening that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he “completely” supports the decision today to fire Mike Rice, the basketball coach at Rutgers.
Christie was among those who were appalled by the video that aired yesterday on ESPN, showing Rice shoving and kicking players at practice, and using anti-gay slurs.
Magruder High School head coach Dan Harwood has been a basketball coach for 27 years. He led his team to a Maryland state title in 2012 and the Colonels finished this season as Maryland 4A state runner-ups. Harwood visited WUSA 9 studios on Wednesday to comment on the decision to fire Rice.
“I was shocked … all coaches can be intense at times, but the repeated behavior was shocking … to any coach, at any level,” said Harwood.
The university’s athletic director had been given a copy of the tape in November, and the coach was then suspended for three games and fined $75,000. He was also ordered to attend anger management classes. And the school’s president signed off on that penalty, reported the AP.
But today, Rutgers president Robert Barchi says he has now “personally viewed” the video, and that it shows a “chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior.”
And athletic director Tim Pernetti says he was wrong to try to “rehabilitate” Rice, instead of firing him after the video first surfaced. Pernetti says he will try to “regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”
Rice, meanwhile, is apologizing for the conduct seen on the video. He says he’s let down his players, their fans and the school, and has been an “embarrassment” to his family. Rice says there’s “no excuse” and “no explanation” for what’s on the video.