clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mike Rice firing: Two Rutgers players defend former coach

Two Rutgers players came to the defense of Mike Rice a day after he was fired for physically and verbally abusing members of the team in practice.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.


Former Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Mike Rice was defended by two of the team's players in telephone interviews conducted by the Associated Press on Thursday, according to USA Today Sports.

For more on this story, head over to On the Banks.

Forwards Wally Judge and Austin Johnson insist there is another side to Rice, who was shown physically and verbally abusing players in a video shown by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Tuesday.

"Honestly, a lot of the things that have been seen have been taken out of context," Judge said. "A lot of things that aren't seen are when we grab him and kid around. Like I said before, when people ask me why did I play for him, I told them 'He's a players' coach.'"

Johnson didn't condone Rice's actions shown in the video, but did agree with Judge's description of the coach. "I feel if people had a chance to see the other portions of practice, or had been at practice, their judgment would not be as severe," Johnson said. "I am not saying what he did wasn't wrong, because I do believe it was wrong. But it is also tough because it was a highlight reel of his worst moments."

"He wasn't a guy we hated or despised," Judge added. "After practice, we would all go in the locker room and laugh. It was never a sad face or a hung head."

Rice was fired on Wednesday after initially receiving a $50,000 fine and three-game suspension from the university for what it deemed "inappropriate behavior" in December.

More in College Basketball:

The 5 things that will decide Louisville-Wichita State

Jabari Parker and Chicago's new basketball lineage

Living and playing basketball with cancer

Andrew Wiggins is the anti-LeBron

Rutgers coach Mike Rice fired after abuse allegations

But is the Big East’s new name the most patriotic conference name?