Christie fires off on Rutgers ex-coach
April 8th, 2013
03:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Christie fires off on Rutgers ex-coach

(CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had some startling words for Mike Rice, the now-fired coach of Rutgers University, in a press conference Monday.

The Republican governor, known for his blistering remarks at times, argued the coach's behavior was "completely reprehensible" and animalistic.

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"Listen, you have lots of successful coaches in this country at the college level who don't act this way," Christie said. "They don't conduct themselves like animals...What parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son after this video?"

"I'll tell you this," he continued. "If I had a son who played basketball who was being recruited at a Division I level and I saw this video and this guy called trying to recruit my son to tell me that I should entrust my son to him for the next four years I would hang up the phone," he said.

Rice was fired Wednesday after ESPN broadcast a video - which the network said shows excerpts of practice sessions shot between 2010 and 2012– in which the coach berated and shoved players as well as threw basketballs at them.

At the press conference, Christie defended the public university's president, Robert Barchi, from critics who say the president should step down over the scandal. Barchi's administration had conducted a probe into the situation in the fall but Barchi was not given a recommendation to fire Rice and did not see the videos himself until last week.

"He takes responsibility for anything that happens on his watch but my view on it is he should've looked at the videotape," Christie said. "But I do not believe not looking at the video tape was a fireable offense. He relied on the people that worked for him."

Despite the controversy, both Rice and the now-former athletic director Tim Pernetti, who resigned, are expected to walk away with hefty severance packages.

"Win or lose that is completely reprehensible, unacceptable conduct," he added. "To be using homophobic slurs and to be having the physical conduct with young men that he was having was simply unacceptable."

- CNN's Aaron Cooper and Virginia Nicolaidis contributed to this report.

Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Chris Christie is a good Governor , yet I wouldn't vote for him as President.

    The only good Republican candidate would be Jon Huntsman .

    April 8, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    It will be interesting to see how the folks at Fox react (including Sean "My dad hit me with a belt and I turned out OK" Hannity and Michelle "firing Rice is 'political correctness has run amuck'" Malkin).

    Nothing gets Fox's knickers in a knot than a Republican daring to buck the party line ...

    April 8, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    "Despite the controversy, both Rice and the now-former athletic director Tim Pernetti, who resigned, are expected to walk away with a hefty severance package."

    Just like all the CEOs in the 80s and 90s and 00s and now who take companies down the toilet and walk away with a golden parachute.

    So much for "values" ...

    April 8, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    I thought he would have been flattered that the coach was borrowing his techniques.

    April 8, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. ja

    his bonus should be withheld, due to the infractions of violence

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |