(TRENTON, N.J.) — Gov. Chris Christie is in the corner of embattled Rutgers University President Robert Barchi.
The New Jersey Republican has been speaking out about the scandal embroiling the college in which men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, his assistant and the school’s athletic director all lost their jobs following a video that showed players being physically and verbally abused at practice.
Barchi has also come under fire for not taking more decisive action when former athletic director Tim Pernetti called the matter to his attention last November. However, Christie said on Monday that the Rutgers president only used bad judgment when he failed to watch the video.
The governor claimed he had “absolute confidence” in Barchi, particularly at a time when Rutgers is due to merge with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Christie said he doesn’t support any punishment against the Rutgers president because “the university would be hurt drastically by the departure of Dr. Barchi.”
According to the governor, “The people who have been most responsible for this mistake have been taken care of…and we need to move on.”
Yet, Christie couldn’t resist taking a dig at former coach Rice, telling reporters, “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.”
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Samantha Beech, CNN
David Williams, CNN
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN