On Twitter, the decision to fire Rice also seemed widely regarded as too little, too late.
"I always find it really admirable when someone can do the right thing when everyone is looking," Twitter user @adamcox wrote.
"My question is why wasn't he dismissed last year," wrote @TheQueez.
The video recalled the 2000 sacking of legendary Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight in the aftermath of a videotaped incident in which he put his hand to the throat of a player. While it was another incident that finally led to Knight's firing, it was the videotaped 1997 incident that prompted strict limits on the coach's frequent physical and verbal outbursts and set the stage for Indiana to let him go.
It also sparked discussion about how far coaches should go to motivate players, what message such behavior sends to young athletes and how widespread such behavior is in locker rooms and practice facilities.
"Homophobic slurs? The sensitivity of people these days is amazing," one commenter wrote on CNN.com.
But the majority of commenters appeared to be aligned against the coach. Many called Rice a bully.
"If you did this to your OWN child the state would take them from you!" another commenter wrote.
"What I think is stark here is how we can be surprised, at this point, by this," former NBA player John Amaechi said on CNN's "Starting Point" Wednesday. "You can walk on any sideline almost anywhere in America or Britain, on any given weekend, and see similar behaviors."
Amaechi, a former NBA player who acknowledged he was gay in a 2007 book, called such conduct abusive, and said Rice should be fired.
"There is no context in the universe where that kind of behavior is acceptable. It's physical and verbal abuse. It's psychological and emotional abuse," he said. "He should not be allowed near anybody. I mean forget sports, there is no context where his management style is appropriate."
But, he said, such demeaning language is not uncommon in sports. Nor is a coach like Rice rare, Amaechi said.
"He's just rarely exposed," he said.
Rice had just ended his third year as the Scarlet Knights' coach with a record of 44-51, and was under contract through the 2014-2015 season. He came to Rutgers from Robert Morris University, where he had a 73-31 record, taking the team to the NCAA basketball tournament twice.
Rice's official school bio -- which has since been taken down -- lauded the academic success of his players and credited him for working extensively with cancer and children's charities. The biography also noted "a relentless style that has become his trademark."
His 2012 salary was $655,470.55, including $300,000 in base pay, according to News 12 New Jersey, which cited public records.