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Rutgers coach Mike Rice in jeopardy: How powerful is public opinion?

Rutgers coach Mike Rice's questionable tactics might cost him his job — four months after Rice's bosses saw it and gave him a slap on the wrist — in the wake of the video's ESPN airing and the ensuing public outcry.

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Rutgers coach Mike Rice shouts to his players during a March 5 basketball game in Piscataway, N.J. Rutgers said it would reconsider its decision to retain Rice after a videotape, broadcast Tuesday, April 2, on ESPN, prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James.

Mel Evans / AP

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Rutgers said it would reconsider its decision to retain basketball coach Mike Rice after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing, and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.

The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN, prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James.

Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video in late November by a former employee. He suspended Rice for three games a month later, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.

In an interview with WFAN Radio on Tuesday, Pernetti said university president Robert Barchi also viewed the tape last fall and agreed with the punishment.

But ESPN's broadcast prompted an outcry, led by the governor himself.

"Governor Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior," spokesman Michael Drewniak said. "It's not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University."

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