New Jersey Governor Chris Christie publicly addressed the Mike Rice scandal for the first time Monday, and he did not have kind words for the former Rutgers basketball coach.
“You have lots of successful coaches in this country at the college level who don’t act this way,” Christie told reporters. “You never hear allegations like this about Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski, or about Coach [Bill] Self in Kansas, or about Coach [Roy] Williams in North Carolina — all who you could say have much higher-pressure programs that they run, with much higher expectations for winning, than Rutgers, yet they don’t conduct themselves like animals.
“One of my questions to folks was, what parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son, after this video? I’d hang up the phone.”
The governor said that he “would have used [his] persuasive powers to make sure that Coach Rice was gone” had he seen the practice tapes showing Rice physically and verbally abusing his players that originally surfaced in November. Though Christie was critical of Rutgers president Robert Barchi‘s handling of the situation, he argued that losing Barchi — whom many are calling to resign — would be a huge blow to the state’s flagship university.
“The university would be hurt drastically by the departure of Dr. Barchi,” Christie said. “That’s why I don’t support it.”
See more from Christie’s news conference in the video below.