Many of my readers know that I’m a big college basketball fan. Rutgers has never had much of a basketball program; their biggest claim to fame is having had Jim Valvano as their coach before he went to NC State and shocked the world by beating Phi Slamma Jamma in 1986. And now they’ve fired their coach for some truly appalling behavior:
Rutgers University fired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice on Wednesday after video of him abusing players that had led to his suspension in December went public, sparking national outrage.
The New Jersey school’s athletic department announced Rice’s termination on its Twitter page, a day after ESPN aired video in which Rice shoves players, hurls basketballs at them and uses profane language and gay slurs.
“Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice,” the posting read.
They had a chance to do this before. The school has had this tape for a long time and they didn’t fire him before, only suspended him. But I’ll give Rice some credit for issuing a genuine apology:
Reached outside his home by ABC’s New York affiliate, Rice was contrite.
“As I stated three months ago, after I watched the video, how deeply regrettable those actions … I also stated I was going to try to work on changing, and I think I’ve accomplished a lot of that,” Rice said Wednesday before the official announcement of his firing. “Can’t say anything right now, except, ‘I’m sorry.’ There will never be a time where I’m going to use any of that as an excuse, or will there be any excuse. I’ve let so many people down — my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family who’s sitting in their house, huddled around because of the fact their father was an embarrassment to them.”
That sounds like actually taken responsibility and apologizing. There’s no “it was taken out of context” or “I apologize to anyone who might be offended.” A genuine “I screwed up badly, I’ve hurt a lot of people and I’m sorry.” How about that.