A New Jersey university basketball coach has delivered a highly emotional apology to reporters after he was sacked for subjecting his players to physical and homophobic abuse.

Rutgers University fired Mike Rice on Wednesday after sports broadcaster ESPN aired footage of Rice subjecting players to homophobic and physical abuse.

The footage was compiled from basketball games from a period of 2010-2012.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti reportedly viewed the footage late last year.

It showed Rice calling a player a “fucking fairy” and a “fucking faggot”.

The university then suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 (£50,000) and ordered him to attend anger management classes.

Yesterday, Rutgers University were finally forced to sack Rice in the wake of widespread condemnation, following the release of the video.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James were among those who condemned the coach’s conduct.

In a strained, emotional apology to reporters, ABC News reports Mike Rice said:

As I stated three months ago after I watched the video…how deeply regrettable those actions… I also stated how I was going to try and work on changing and I think I have accomplished a lot of that.

I can’t say anything right now except I’m sorry… they’ll never be a time when I am going to use any of that as an excuse – or be any excuse.

I have let so many people down… my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans… my family who’s sitting in their house just hurdled around because of the fact that their father… is an embarrassment to them.

It’s troubling but I will at some time…maybe I will try to explain it but right now there’s no explanation for what’s on those films because there is no excuse for it – I was wrong.

I want to tell everybody who’s believed in me… that I am deeply sorry for the pain and hardship that I have caused.