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Christie backs firing of Rutgers coach

Wednesday - 4/3/2013, 6:10pm  ET

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- 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.

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.

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.


%@AP Links

218-a-09-(Mike Rice, fired Rutgers basketball coach, with reporters)-"lot of that"-Mike Rice, who's been fired as Rutgers basketball coach, says after he watched the video three months ago he felt very bad about it. COURTESY: WABC-TV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Apr 2013)

<> 00:09 "lot of that"

179-a-15-(Joe Musso, alumni of Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, in AP interview)-"went too far"-Rutgers alumni Joe Russo says Mike Rice's behavior in the ESPN video was outrageous. (3 Apr 2013)

<> 00:15 "went too far"

177-a-12-(Luis Jimenez, Rutgers sophomore, in AP interview)-"to do it"-Rutgers sophomore Luis Jimenez says firing Mike Rice was the right move. (3 Apr 2013)

<> 00:12 "to do it"

GRAPHICSBANK: Mike Rice, as Rutgers University head basketball coach, with logo on texture, partial graphic (3 Apr 2013)

APPHOTO NY175: FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2012, file photo, Rutgers coach Mike Rice reacts to play during an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut in Piscataway, N.J. The airing Tuesday, April 2, 2013, of a videotape of Rice using gay slurs, shoving and grabbing his players and throwing balls at them in practice over the past three seasons has Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti reconsidering his decision not to fire the coach. Pernetti was given a copy of the video in late November by a disgruntled former employee, and he suspended Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and made him undergo anger management classes for inappropriate behavior after investigating it. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File) (7 Jan 2012)


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