An American university basketball coach has been fired after video footage was released showing him angrily shoving and throwing balls at players and using gay slurs against them.
On Wednesday, Rutgers University in New Jersey fired Mike Rice following media coverage of a damning video tape that captured hours of practice sessions by the Scarlet Knights team between 2010 and 2012.
In the footage, Rice is seen pushing, kicking, grabbing and shoving players and furiously throwing balls at them as they practice on court.
Rice is also heard hurling anti-gay insults at the players, calling them “faggots” and “fucking fairy”, among other swearwords.
According to ESPN, the fired coach told reporters outside his home that he apologised “for the pain and hardship that I’ve caused”.
He added: “I’ve let so many people down. My players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans. My family, who’s sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them.”
According to Rutgers, Rice had been previously disciplined, fined and briefly suspended over these incidents. He had also been ordered to attend anger management classes. The university, however, only fired Rice after the footage went public.
It was also reported that former director of player development for the Scarlet Knights, Eric Murdock, had been fired by the university after he complained about Rice’s behaviour. He is in the process of suing Rutgers over his dismissal.
A number of players are also said to have transferred from the school over their treatment by the coach.
LGBT activists have commented that they expected the university to have been more pro-active and sensitive to the issue of gay bullying.
In 2010, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly filmed him kissing another man on a webcam. It is believed that he was horrified after news of the incident spread across campus.
Following the broadcast of the footage, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that he supported the university’s decision to fire the coach.
Watch an ESPN reports below.