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Firing of Rutgers coach Mike Rice 'far too late,' says Lupica

April 3, 2013 at 8:00 AM ET

A day after footage of Rutgers University head basketball coach Mike Rice shoving and berating players with gay slurs during practices was shown on ESPN, Rice has been fired by the school.

New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica called for the firing of the school's athletic director Tim Pernetti as well.

“This is not enough for Rutgers," he told TODAY in a phone interview Wednesday. "This is negligent behavior. They knew about this guy's actions for a long time," he said of Pernetti and the university's president, Robert Barchi. "It's impossible for me to believe they didn't know their coach was behaving this way with players."

Pernetti saw the video in late November after it was given to him by former Rutgers director of player development Eric Murdock. In December, Pernetti suspended Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes. Murdock, whose contract was not renewed by the school, took the tapes to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,’’ which aired them on Tuesday.

Pernetti saw the video in late November after it was given to him by former Rutgers director of player development Eric Murdock. In December, Pernetti suspended Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes. Murdock, whose contract was not renewed by the school, took the tapes to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,’’ which aired them on Tuesday.

Outrage after Rutgers coach is caught on camera using gay slurs, assaulting players

In the clips, Rice shoves and grabs players, whips basketballs at them at close range, and berates them with profanities and gay slurs.

A vote on TODAY.com Wednesday morning found that 96% of you believed that Mike Rice should have been fired. On Twitter, viewers reacted to the anchors' call for responses:

"Governor Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior," spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement Tuesday night. "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."

Christie reacted to the firing on Twitter Wednesday.

As we move on from this, I’m very optimistic that @RutgersU will select a new head coach who not only puts a winning team on the court," he tweeted. "But will make everyone proud of the example he sets every day for the young men in his charge.

"Until you go after athletic directors and school presidents," Lupica said, "then we'll be outraged the next time something like this happens."

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