Written for WHYY/Newsworks
After Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired over his abusive actions towards his players, I spoke to a lot of friends and colleagues to get their take on how it all went down. Opinions about the firing, which occurred after a video showcasing Rice dishing out tons of physical and verbal abuse made its way online, seem to diverge into two camps.
On the one hand, some think it was absolutely inexcusable that it took so long for Athletic Director Tim Pernetti to fire Rice, who saw the video five months ago and decided the appropriate punishment was to suspend the coach for three games and fine him $75,000. Remember, Rice’s homophobic outbursts came in the aftermath of the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, who jumped from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and a fellow hall-mate shared webcam video of Clementi kissing another man. Their view seems to be substantiated by the resignation of Pernetti, who threw himself on his sword over what university president Robert Barchi called a “failure of process” during a press conference on Friday.