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Murdock tirade adds to Rutgers’ woes in wrongful termination case

In a recording made the day before his contract expired, Eric Murdock promised “to tell the God’s honest truth” about Rutgers head coach Mike Rice. After his contract was not renewed, Murdock kept his promise by releasing video footage of Rice being harsh, even abusive with players during practice. Rutgers fired Rice in April.

The recording is part of the official record in Murdock’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the university. Murdock claims his criticism of Rice’s tactics was the main motivating factor behind his ouster. Rutgers claims Murdock’s work as director of player development was not up to the New Jersey university’s standards. Officials also accuse Murdock of insubordination.

One incident that apparently clinched Rice’s decision not to renew Murdock’s contract involved a request, from Rice, that Murdock address a basketball camp the coach was running. Murdock chose instead to talk to a group of high school kids — a group that included his son. Whatever happened between the two men apparently set off Murdock’s rant.

The most salient portions of the recording include Murdock’s stinging criticism of Rice’s coaching techniques. He likens his boss’s tactics to cracking the whip and treating the players like slaves. When discussing the video, Murdock suggests that releasing the tape will help Rice “learn to talk to people.” He continued, addressing Rice’s method, “You’re not dealing with robots. You’re dealing with people who have emotions, passions and all that.”

The parties involved in the lawsuit declined to comment. Murdock’s attorney said the recording confirmed that Murdock was speaking up before he was fired.

Source: USA Today, “Audio of Eric Murdock’s outburst revealed at Rutgers over Mike Rice,” Jerry Carino, June 14, 2013

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