Rutgers basketball assistant resigns after video surfaces

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — Rutgers men’s assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli resigned the same day his boss was fired after ESPN broadcast a lengthy video of players being physically and verbally abused, the university told CNN on Thursday.

Rutgers gave no reason for Martelli’s resignation Wednesday.

The outcry over the treatment of the players arose after ESPN on Tuesday showed footage of head coach Mike Rice shoving and berating players.

ESPN reported Thursday that Martelli also was involved, in a handful of instances where he shoved players and at least one instance where he called a player “a f**king fa**ot.”

The network posted a different video on its website that showed Martelli getting physical with players and an interview with Eric Murdock, a former director of player development for the Scarlet Knights, who said Martelli was known as “Baby Rice.”

Martelli, son of longtime St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, joined the Rutgers staff in May 2010 after three seasons as an assistant under Rice at Robert Morris, which twice made the NCAA tournament.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Martelli said, “I am sickened that as an assistant coach I contributed in any way to an unacceptable culture. Wednesday I resigned from Rutgers and I hope that coaches on all levels will learn something important from these events. For my actions, I am deeply sorry and I apologize to the players from the bottom of my heart.”

The news comes the same day Rutgers revealed the university will pay Rice a $100,000 longevity bonus, according to a university spokesman.

Rice said after he was fired that “there’s no explanation for what’s on those videos because there’s no excuse for it,” according to CNN affiliate WABC.

“I can’t say anything right now except I’m sorry, and there will never be a time where I’m going to use any of that as an excuse or will there be any excuse,” he said, according to the station. “I’ve let so many people down, my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family — who’s sitting in their house, just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them.”

The video, which ESPN said features excerpts of practice sessions shot between 2010 and 2012, initially had earned Rice a three-game suspension, a $75,000 fine and a ticket to anger management classes.

“You f**king fairy … you’re a f**king fa**ot,” Rice appears to say during one session depicted on the video, which also shows him shoving and throwing basketballs at players.

Under pressure from incensed state officials to take stronger action, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said Wednesday that he had made a mistake in favoring suspension.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Pernetti said in a written statement. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

According to CNN affiliate WCBS, Pernetti said he had talked to Martelli about the video.

“Jimmy was spoken to about the matter,” Pernetti told reporters Tuesday. “We dealt with that. Certainly the tape focused on Mike, but it brought some other things to light that we dealt with at the same time that we dealt with Mike.”

CNN’s Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.

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