Christie says Rutgers shouldn't have let 'animal' keep coaching basketball

Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-08 13:06:56-04

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's governor is describing the fired basketball coach at Rutgers as an "animal." And Chris Christie says university officials were wrong when they decided not to fire coach Mike Rice months ago when they first saw the video in which he was seen shoving and kicking basketball players and using anti-gay slurs.

Christie has issued statements about the episode, but this is the first time he's taken questions at a news conference.

Christie said he viewed the video not only as a governor but as the father of a college athlete. His son Andrew plays baseball at Princeton.

He said the video cost the coach his credibility with young athletes and their families. Christie asked, "What parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son after this video?"

The school's athletic director, Tim Pernetti, resigned last week, as did an assistant basketball coach and the university's top lawyer. Some at Rutgers had called for the school's president, Robert Barchi, to also step down. But Christie today, while criticizing the fired coach and those who let him keep his job, defended Barchi's performance. He says Barchi should have seen the video himself -- but that people in charge of large organizations sometimes need to delegate responsibility.