Eyewitness News

Fallout at Rutgers

Friday, April 05, 2013
Bill Ritters daily take on the news.

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

Perception is reality, right? So what's the perception now at Rutgers University, now that the President - whose own scalp is being called for by dozens of his faculty - has forced out the Athletic Director, who resigned today over that shocking video of the (now-fired) head basketball coach attacking his players?

Turns out Tim Pernetti insists he wanted to fire coach Mike Rice last year, when the abusive video was discovered (but not yet made public). Pernetti says he was told by the Rutgers bureaucrats that review these things that university policy would not support a firing. So since when does an athletic director not have discretion to fire a sports coach? Maybe when it's a publicly funded school?

Pernetti, I'm told, is a super nice guy who clearly has made Rutgers athletic program a lot of money - so far and into the future. He's launched it into the big time in terms of competition, and the sounds of cash registers echoes loudly on campus from his work.

That, of course, might influence any decision involving controversy and not making a problem that had been kept quiet from going public. Until it does go public. And, as we saw, all hell broke loose when it did this week.

We'll have the latest from Rutgers, tonight at 11. Is this the end of the scandal, or is the President, who made the announcement in a sometimes rambling, sometimes spin-loaded, and not always consistent news conference, also at risk of losing his job?

Also at 11, the guy who was busted for pummeling a 56-year-old woman at a subway station in Brooklyn last month - the video of which for some reason wasn't released by the NYPD for 24 days, which then arrested the buy less than 24 hours after dozens of people recognized him in the video - has been released on bail.

Say what? You can see the attacker pushing and grabbing the woman - throwing her to the ground and then when she tried to get up kicking her in the face by my count at least 3 times. His bail - just $50,000, which means someone had to put up just $5,000 in cash.

If you're the woman who was beaten, how are you feeling, knowing that the man charged with viciously beating you - an attack that could have killed you - is out of custody and wandering free as a bird?

I'm just sayin'. We'll have the latest at 11.

And it's April 5, just 10 days from the deadline to pay taxes - maybe you've heard of it? And we asked Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side to take a look at the obvious but often overlooked deductions that some taxpayers may be leaving off their tax returns. Hey - it couldn't hurt, right?

And two emotional nuggets of news I want to share.

The first is the remarkable statement last night from Chaz Ebert, the wife of Roger Ebert, the popular and long-time movie critic who died yesterday. He took, the day before, what he called a "leave of presence" from his work as he knew his life was going to end from his years-long battle with cancer. But no one knew it would end this quickly. As he and his wife went home to begin hospice care, Chaz wrote that "...he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition."

Wow.

The other emotional item comes from the dad of Emilee Parker, one of the victims of the Sandy Hook gun massacre. The family comes from Texas, and at today's Texas Rangers game, Robbie Parker threw out the first pitch of the game. It's an amazing moment. Click here to watch it.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER

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