If you thought Mike Rice turning Rutgers basketball practices into his own personal dodgeball games was something that would blow over, you’re sorely mistaken. This is an ongoing story that just picked up some additional steam as Eric Murdock spoke publicly for the first time since early April.
Murdock, the former Rutgers assistant coach who was responsible for creating a video montage of Mike Rice verbally abusing his players and hurling basketballs at them during practices, explained in his first interview since the video was made public by ESPN on April 2nd:
“I have absolutely nothing to hide. I’m not going to crawl into a hole for the simple fact that I didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t go through life looking over your shoulder…I couldn’t believe that I was in the midst of all that.”
While this unfortunate ordeal at Rutgers is still being investigated, it appears that Murdock’s name will forever be linked to Rice’s unique forms of motivation during practices, as well as coping with the FBI investigation:
“The people who know me deep down, they know I don’t have a criminal bone in my body,” Murdock said. “But when you see your name on ESPN in the same sentence with ‘FBI investigation,’ your image is definitely going to take a hit because people tend to believe what they see and what they hear, and not really decipher the facts. When your image takes a hit like that, yeah, it definitely affects you.”
Nobody will doubt that Murdock was against Rice’s practices, but it remains to be seen whether or not he will be convicted of extorting Rutgers. From an April 7th New York Times article:
“In December, a lawyer representing the former assistant, Eric Murdock, a retired N.B.A. player, sent a letter to the university demanding $950,000, according to a copy of the letter.”
Murdock did have this to say of Rutger’s hiring Eddie Jordan: “I think it’s a great hire, he’s well respected in the NBA ranks.”
With this impending case ongoing, all of a sudden the fact that Jordan doesn’t have a degree from Rutgers doesn’t seem like a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. To say these last two months have been a trying time for Rutgers University would be a gross understatement.
You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11