Hold The Phone, Is Pernetti Really To Blame?

Pernetti Rice

Rutgers Athletics: I always tried my best to do what is right. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today. As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice’s behavior was to fire him immediately. However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel. Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved.

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If what Tim Pernetti is saying in this letter is true, I was completely wrong in my assumption of his role in this shit storm.  I believe Pernetti here.  I believe he is telling the truth.  He is a very smart individual and know knows just how the media works (now more than ever).  He knows there will be countless numbers of reporters digging into everything he said; fact checking every word he wrote in this letter.  It would be basically career suicide to lie in this letter and have it get found out.

After reading this letter, I now think Rutgers needs to completely overhaul their institutional policies.  How can their internal policies and procedures direct them to suspend and fine Rice instead of firing him?  On second thought, I have a hard time believing Rutgers policy doesn’t call for immediate termination.  Something doesn’t add up here.  If a professor was throwing chalk/dry erase markers at underperforming students calling them “faggots,” “pussies,” or “retards” that professor would immediately be “suspended pending investigation” followed up with the professor being fired.  The same thing should have happened here.  Someone was on Rice’s side here and wanted to protect him.  Not sure why as the results aren’t there (probably because he is a shitty coach).

If the New Jersey State Senate really wants to get involved here (like they have been), they should probably focus on Rutgers’ documented policies and procedures and see if they need to be overhauled.  If they really do show that Rice should have been fired back in December, then President Barchi should be fired too.  If Pernetti is right and the policy called for a fine and a suspension, then the policies need to be torn up and completely rewritten.

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Rutgers Cleans House

Mike Rice

I wanted to wait for all the chips the fall before commenting on this Rutgers story.

We all already know all the details so I won’t waste time recapping.  I think Rutgers absolutely made the right moves.  I know it was obvious that the coach, Mike Rice, had to go.  The other great move was firing the AD Pernetti.  He tried to sweep it under the rug with his slap on the wrist punishment he gave Rice back in December.  Cited things like it was a “first offense.”  First offense?!?!  In every single other workplace, that behavior, even as a first offense get you fired every single time.  Pernetti then went out into the media and defended his punishment when the world was calling for Rice’s head.  Terrible PR move and basically left the Rutgers President with no option but to fire him.

As for what I thought about the video itself; clearly Rice went way over the line.  Look, if you want to be the rough and hard dickhead coach, I get it.  If you think yelling and screaming at your team is what will get through to them, knock yourself out.  Where I draw the line is the name calling referring to sexual orientation and player heritage.  You want to call your big man soft and a pussy because he lets guys 5 inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter box them out and out rebound your big man, go for it.  I also think it is fine to grab a player who isn’t focusing and putting them into the right position on the court.  There is no need to call anyone a fag or pick on their heritage…or in Gilvydas Biruta’s case, both.  No need to call Gil a “Lithuanian faggot.”. Absolutely zero basketball purpose for that.

Also, maybe there are better ways to get your point across without rocketing balls at players’ heads.