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Rutgers' Rice was suspended in December for abusing players

The SportsXchange

Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice was suspended for three games and fined last December when hours of video showed him verbally and physically abusing his players, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The footage aired for the first time on Outside The Lines, showing Rice throwing a basketball at a player's head, calling a player a homophobic slur and what appears to be kicking a player.

Eric Murdock, a former director of basketball development at Rutgers, complained to Pernetti about Rice's actions. His contract was not renewed last year.

"To witness that video and see your coach physically putting his hands on players, physically kicking players, firing balls at players at point-blank range, the verbal abuse, the belittling." Murdock said.

"Yeah, I was in total shock that this guy wasn't fired."

Murdock said three players had since transferred because of the abuse, which was documented on videos from 2010-12.

Tim Pernetti, the Rutgers athletics director, investigated incidents, which he said took hundreds of hours in interviews with people around the program. He said the length of the suspension and a $50,000 fine was appropriate on Dec.13 because it was Rice's first offense.

"Honestly, we've dealt with this issue," Pernetti said Tuesday. "When I became aware of this in November, within 24 hours we had the investigation underway. Now I became aware of it in a meeting. I took the DVD with me. I met with Mike later in the day.

"We started the investigation. Within that two-week period we made the determination on what we were going to do. I would tell you that all options were on the table at that time."

Murdock, 44, who is a former Rutgers player, intends to sue the school for wrongful termination, according to his attorney, Raj Gadhok.

"Mr. Murdock was terminated for having complained of and reported illegal conduct by Mike Rice," Gadhok said. "As a result, his employment was terminated by Rutgers University. That is unlawful in the state of New Jersey and Eric intends to pursue legal action for his wrongful termination, which the university and its representatives have been aware of for some time now. We have no further comment at this time."
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