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Rick Pitino, politicians, coaches, players react to Mike Rice’s firing


Mike Miller

In the wake of a leaked video tape that led to the firing of Rutgers coach Mike Rice, coaches, politicians, and players have reacted. Most are in line with the opinion of the Rutgers administration, approving of the firing of Mike Rice. Some former players defended Rice or at least helped to give the situation context. Look at the list below:

Louisville coach Rick Pitino:

Rutgers senior center Austin Johnson, via NJ Hoops Haven:

“It’s been really unfortunate. I feel a lot of times people get really wrapped up in emotion and they forget he (Rice) has a family. There’s always another side to the story.”

“I feel really bad right now. He (Rice) wears his emotions on his sleeve and he’s such an intense person who has such a great desire to win, and often I felt like that gets perceived as a little crazy.”

“You...have to take into account he rest of the practice and everything else that goes into a basketball program as a whole. You can’t judge everything based on a however-long video.”

New Jersey governor Chris Christie:

This was a regrettable episode for @rutgersu, but I completely support the decision to remove Coach Rice.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) April 3, 2013

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), via Newark Star-Ledger:

On Rice’s behavior: “unacceptable and beyond common decency”

“Why is it that we are only finding out the facts now, months after this occurred?” Sweeney said in a statement. "... Rutgers needs to explain why this was kept essentially secret.”

Andy Glockner, Sports Illustrated

I was a Division I athlete. I’ve been in plenty of practices as a media member. I understand the motivation culture. Rice was disgusting.

— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) April 3, 2013

Dick Vitale, ESPN
It was rhe right & ONLY thing to do.Committed coaching suicide!… — Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 3, 2013

Jeff Goodman,
If Mike Rice goes, Tim Pernetti needs to go with him. — Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) April 3, 2013

Rob Dauster,

When I took off, Mike Rice was employed. Looks like that’s not going to be the case soon, per @brendanprunty

— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) April 3, 2013

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_