[UPDATE April 3, 9:30 a.m. Deadspin reports that Mike Rice was fired April 3. See deadspin.com/rutgers-finally-fires-mike-rice-468213503 .]
WASHINGTON - Late Tuesday evening, video footage was released showing Rutgers University men's basketball coach Mike Rice berating his players, using homophobic slurs as a means of intimidation and ridicule. Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement calling for Rice's immediate termination:
"Mike Rice's despicable behavior is completely unacceptable and Rutgers should fire him immediately. What a disgrace for Rice to use such offensive and disturbing language as a means to intimidate players he is meant to lead."
The footage, taken at practices from 2010 to 2012, shows Rice yelling homophobic slurs at his players, and at times using physical violence with them. According to reports, the video was shown to Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti in December, who opted to fine Rice, instead of terminating him.
"Imagine the kids at home who look up to Rice as a role model and may view his behavior as a license to bully," continued Griffin. "Rutgers has an opportunity to send a powerful message that this sort of disgusting behavior should never be tolerated."
"The pattern of behavior in this video is deplorable, inexcusable, in direct violation of the state's anti-bullying laws, and it's indefensible that Rutgers hasn't fired Coach Rice as a result," said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality. "Further, why did the university wait months to disclose this disturbing footage? The apology and fine issued do not go nearly far enough."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.