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TODAY   |  April 03, 2013

Lupica: Rutgers coach’s behavior ‘unacceptable’

Outrage is growing after videos of Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice shoving and berating players with gay slurs have gone viral. New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica told Matt Lauer the coach “needs to be fired.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to that disturbing video of a college basketball coach at rutgers university , this is video a lot of people are talking about this morning. willie is here with details on it and the fallout.

>> it's pretty stunning, matt. mike rice , the head basketball coach at rutgers university facing a fire storm this morning on his behavior on the practice court. now the public university in new jersey is under heavy pressure to fire him. [ bleep ].

>> the big question you have to ask now is do you want this individual, this coach going into a student athlete 's home and recruiting him to play at rutgers ? that's a concern.

>> new jersey governor chris christie saying he is disturbed by the video adding "it's not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people ." lebron james was more blunt writing in a tweet "if my son played for rutgers or a coach like that, he would have some real explaining to do." coach rice apologized at the time of his suspension. rutgers monitors every training and rice attends sensitivity training . the question is how has this guy not been fired already? it wasn't just the coach who saw the tapes, the president of the university said they didn't fire him because it was a "first offense."

>> there's hundreds of hours of the tapes and it will be hard to stick with that stance now. mike lupica is a sports columnist for "the new york daily news." good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> what was your reaction when you first saw the tapes?

>> my first reaction why wasn't he fired the first time someone in the position of authority at rutgers by the way a state school , saw them. it's not going to be enough for him to get fired. the president of this school has to explain why they signed off on a suspension and not an immediate firing for this man. matt, you always hear the same thing when something like this happens, oh, i was protecting the interests of the university. how many times have we heard that before, and now we hear, oh, it was 60% of this happened in his first year as coach. well what about the other 40%? this is unacceptable.

>> let me just ask you, let's break this down into two areas, what he does physically, pushing these players, kicking one player, throwing the basketball, there may be some people out there saying this is a tough sport. it's demanding. this is a tough and demanding coach expecting the most of his players. take that first. what's your reaction to that side?

>> it's a bunch of baloney. one of the greatest careers in the history of basketball, bob knight 's, ended at indiana essentially when he put his hands on a student, okay? you don't touch the players. if that's your idea of a teacher, matt --

>> but wait a sec. if we fire every coach who has ever touched or shoved a player, aren't there going to be a lot few coaches?

>> there will be a lot fewer coaches touching the players but more offensive is the language, imagine if --

>> that's what i wanted to get to next.

>> imagine if your boss spoke in the workplace like that. imagine if my boss spoke in the workplace like that. they would be fired on the spot.

>> all right, so mike, the athletic director , the president of the university , do you see any other course of action that they can take following the release of these tapes but to fire mike rice ?

>> mike rice needs to be fired and then, i'm telling you, for a state school the president of the school and the athletic director , they've got a lot of explaining to do. they knew about this way before the tape, they saw the tape. they had to know this man was acting this way and certainly they've known about the existence of the tape since last winter. no, he's got to go.

>> mike lupica on the phone for us this morning, mike, thank you very much. we have a rutgers alum right over here.

>> there's no question what needs to happen here. he absolutely has to go and not just because of all that you saw but that's just a small cutdown as we've been saying of all the evidence that's out there and this goes back five months ago which i think for those of us just learning of this, you just can't even believe that that could still, that could happen.

>> we've seen the anatomy of these kinds of scandals before, first it's about what the coach did and people start asks questions how the administrators respond.

>> a coverup.

>> cya going on.

>> willie and i were going on, the university can't use winning as a defense for this coach. he has a losing record over three years.

>> what are they protecting. he's been there for three years and had a losing record. he's an employee at a public university . what if a professor in a classroom at that school was caught on camera throwing things at students and shoving them? this is clear-cut, i'd be surprised if he makes it 'til noon.

>> not to mention a lot of players have left, three really good players have left the program because of this coach.

>> what should rutgers basketball -- what should rutgers university do? head to today.com, let us know what you think. we'll put the question up there and give you the results a little later on.