Like Others, Rutgers' Firing of Mike Rice Backed by Gov. Christie (Video)

Wednesday, 03 Apr 2013 01:01 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined many others in backing Rutgers University's decision to fire head basketball coach Mike Rice on Wednesday, a day after ESPN aired a video (below) of Rice shoving, grabbing, throwing basketballs, and yelling gay slurs at his players during practice.

Rutgers reportedly became aware of Rice's behavior in November, but chose to discipline him rather than fire him at the time. Athletic Director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games in December, fined him $50,000, and ordered him to attend anger management classes.

"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice," Pernetti said in a statement. "Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community."

Rice apologized for his actions Wednesday morning.

"I've let so many people down — my players, the administration, my fans, my family, who's sitting in their house huddled around because their father was an embarrassment to them," Rice told ABC News. "I will at some time try to explain it, but there's no explanation for what's on those films. I was wrong."

The footage of Rice sparked public outcry, and many celebrities and politicians spoke out against the former coach's behavior. Christie took to Twitter Wednesday morning to vent about Rice's actions and applaud Rutgers' decision to sack him.

LeBron James and sports anchor Erin Andrews also criticized Rice.

Related stories:

Rutgers Coach Fired After Video Shows Him Berating, Hitting Players

Rutgers University Student Suicide Is a Tragedy

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