Ravens running back Ray Rice is offering his support to embattled Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti in wake of the firing of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice earlier this week.
Many have called for the removal of top university administrators for failing to remove Rice despite video evidence of the coach’s behavior during practice, which included pushing players, throwing basketballs at them, and berating them with gay slurs. More than 50 Rutgers faculty members reportedly signed a letter asking for the termination of Pernetti and an explanation from president Robert Barchi on why he didn’t fire Rice when learning of the video displaying his conduct.
However, the Pro Bowl running back along with other former Rutgers standouts are showing their support for Pernetti. Rice has cited in interviews that the athletic director even encouraged him to graduate at the school’s recent pro day for NFL prospects.
“Big 10 doesn’t happen without Mr. Pernetti,” Rice wrote on his official Twitter account. “He has done a GREAT job for RU, our future is bright with him leading us.”
Rice also endorsed a tweet posted by former Rutgers and NFL offensive lineman Shaun O’Hara calling for football alumni to stand up for Pernetti.
Many of Pernetti’s supporters acknowledge he made a mistake in handling the former basketball coach’s employment but do not think it should result in his termination, citing his excellent body of work at the university.