Gay Slurs at Forefront of Rice's Suspension

Gay Slurs at Forefront of Rice's Suspension

The release of 29-minute tape that details Mike Rice's inappropriate behavior at Rutgers basketball practices will not have an impact on his job status, athletic director Tim Pernetti said. The video, which includes two gay slurs and inappropriate physical contact with players, was the subject of Rice's three-game suspension.

The primary reason for Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice's three-game suspension this year stemmed from video of him using two gay slurs in a practice and throwing basketballs at players on multiple occasions.

Though called completely unacceptable behavior by athletic director Tim Pernetti in a meeting with the media on Tuesday, he reiterated statements that Rice will not lose his job over the incident.

"I'll tell you this about certain words that were used, they're unacceptable," Pernetti said. "If you use them once, it's once too many. Rutgers is one of the most diverse universities in the world. It's something we pride ourselves on. It's absolutely unacceptable. There is no circumstance under which it is acceptable. It's a big, important part of the reason why Mike paid and is continuing to pay, quite frankly, such a heavy penalty."

Pernetti launched an investigation based on practice video featuring gay slurs, physical abuse and inappropriate language.

"We've dealt with this issue," Pernetti said. "Within 24 hours, we had the investigation underway. ... Over that two-week period, we made our determination of what we were going to do, and I would tell you that all options were on the table at that time."

Pernetti said it was always his intention to release the practice tape, but it was done so on Tuesday because ESPN's "Outside the Lines" received a copy and aired segments of it the same day.

The 29-minute tape presents detailed segments from Rutgers practice over a three-year period, however the majority came from Rice's first year as head coach.

Rice displays more than a dozen instances of inappropriate physical contact with players and continuously uses offensive language when addressing players and staff.

"Putting your hands on a player is not acceptable no matter what," Pernetti said. "Yeah, there's a line, but I think the rule of thumb in general is to never put your hands on a player. I don't think anything warrants that."

The video itself was not put together by Rutgers, however. Former staff member Eric Murdock and Rutgers remain in an ongoing lawsuit, and the tape stems from Murdock's lawyers.

Rice underwent sensitivity training following his suspension and will continue to do so in addition with paying a $50,000 fine.

"Mike's undergone some pretty intensive sensitivity training as part of this whole deal and has dealt with and continues to deal with a lot of his issues," Pernetti said. "This is not the kind of thing that, once the basketball season is over, the penance is paid and everything is kind of moving forward. This is the kind of thing that will be ongoing."

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has had an outspoken tenure in office against bullying and has been supportive of Rutgers in the past.

Christie's office released a statement in the late afternoon saying he was "obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior. It's not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University."

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