Sports

Mike Rice: ‘I Was An Idiot, But I Never Abused Anybody’

Disgraced Former Rutgers Coach Breaks His Silence
Mike Rice (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mike Rice (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Disgraced former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice says he’s changed.

He also claims he “never abused anybody.”

Rice was fired in April after a video showing him verbally and physically roughing up his players became public. He’s finally breaking his months-long silence this week with a one-two punch.

First, a profile published to the New York Times’ website: “Everything I’ve ever done is fight, scratch and claw, and now I have to sit back and take it, listen to people say I was abusing my players? I was an idiot, but I never abused anybody.”

Then on Friday, “20/20″ will air a sit-down interview with the 44-year-old: “Having that taken away, your dream job … and having it done in such a visible way … and hurting the people closest to me … it changes a person. … My first reaction, when I saw the tape was one of embarrassment, of shock, of sadness.”

In the video that sparked a national firestorm, Rice was seen throwing basketballs and hurling gay slurs at Rutgers players. His firing was followed by the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti.

“When you look at those moments, they’re ugly moments, there’s no way of describing them any way else,” Rice told the Times. “Once every 20 practices doesn’t make it that way every day.”

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