Former Rutgers basketball player Derrick Randall has filed a federal lawsuit against the university, ex-head coach Mike Rice, president Robert Barchi and four other high-ranking Rutgers employees for abuse he suffered during Rice's tenure.
Courthouse News Services broke the story of Randall's filing, which alleges the school knew of Rice's abusive behavior and should be held culpable for his actions. Former assistant coach James Martelli, former athletics director Tim Pernetti, Rutgers CFO Janine Purcaro and Chairman of the Board Mark Hershhorn are also named defendants in the suit.
Rice was fired this past April after ESPN's Outside the Lines uncovered a video that showed the former Rutgers coach physically and verbally abusing his players, which included throwing basketballs at them and yelling offensive epithets.
"The outrageous, intimidating and abusive conduct to which Derrick was subjected included Coach Rice hurling basketballs at his head and legs and hitting, grabbing, striking and shoving him," Randall's lawsuit states.
Randall, who played sparingly as a reserve in his two seasons with the Scarlet Knights, transferred to Pittsburgh in the spring. He was granted a waiver to play in the 2013-14 season because of the Rice scandal, and is currently averaging 3.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game for the Panthers.
The lawsuit claims that Rice's constant abuse caused Randall to lose confidence both on and off the court. Randall is known to suffer from learning disabilities, and he claims Rice and Rutgers violated his civil rights along with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.
Rice, 44, has attempted to rebuild his reputation in the months since the abuse scandal broke out. In a lengthy New York Times Magazine profile written by Jonathan Mahler, Rice claims to have never been abusive toward his players.
“Everything I’ve ever done is fight, scratch and claw,” Rice said, “and now I have to sit back and take it, listen to people say I was abusing my players? I was an idiot, but I never abused anybody.”
Rice also went on ABC's 20/20 to apologize for his mistakes. Speaking with Robin Roberts, Rice claimed to have been embarrassed by his actions when the video came to light but stopped short of calling himself abusive. He claimed that, while his temper got the best of him at times, it was never a prolonged period of anger.
Rice is currently running after-school basketball clinics for adolescents and has not commented on the lawsuit.
Randall is seeking unspecified damages.
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