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Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) called Rice’s conduct is indefensible, and said he should have been fired in December, after the tape was given to Pernetti.

Gusciora also said Pernetti’s decision deserves a full review.

“If the university does not act, I will seek to add a provision to the state budget defunding Mr. Rice’s salary,” Gusciora said. “Taxpayers should not be paying for this behavior.”

Pernetti said his decision to only suspend Rice was made in part because the coach was remorseful and admitted he made mistakes. Pernetti said Rice also worked hard to improve himself with the counseling, the practice monitor while working on his own behavior.

Rice had a reputation as being “a fiery guy with an edge” before coming to Rutgers and Pernetti said the two talked about it for five hours before he was hired.

“He convinced me he understood his reputation, but he also understood where the line was,” Pernetti said. “I made clear to him if he crossed the line he would be held accountable. In this case he did, and we held him accountable for it.”

That might not be enough in the wake of the video made by Eric Murdock, the former NBA player who was hired by Rice to be director of player development.

The two had a falling out over Murdock’s appearances at a camp, and Pernetti said Murdock’s contract was not renewed. Murdock, who said he was fired, then compiled the video, splicing together the practice lowlights of Rice’s first three years as coach.

Pernetti said about 60 percent of the incidents happened in Rice’s first season. He also was upset with Rice using a certain gay slur at a university where student Tyler Clementi committed suicide after a roommate used a webcam to see him kissing a man.

“I would tell you that that word was at the core of the suspension,” Pernetti said. “It absolutely concerns me. It’s not acceptable.”