Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was vacationing with his family in Jamaica. He says it was on the first day of the getaway that he first learned of the videotape featuring Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice pushing players and using homophobic slurs.

Governor Chris Christie (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

Christie says Rice should have been fired back in November when the tape first surfaced. He also thinks it was right for athletic director Tim Pernetti to resign. Christie is defending university president Robert Barchi’s handling of the scandal.

“I do continue to have faith in him,” explains Christie. “It’s the body of his work before he came to Rutgers and since he came to Rutgers that gives me that confidence and there’s nothing that has happened or has come to light in the last number of days that changes that.”

Rice was suspended and fined after the tape first surfaced in November. Barchi claims he didn’t watch the tape until last week. Therein lies Christie’s sole criticism of Barchi.

Barchi Should Have Watch Video

“I agree with Dr. Barchi that he should have looked at the videotape,” says Christie. “He says that and I agree with him……My view on it is he should have looked at the videotape, but I do not believe not looking at the videotape was a fireable offense.”

Rutgers can and will recover from the scandal predicts Christie.

“We had to deal with this issue,’’ says the Governor. “We’ve dealt with it. Those most responsible for this mistake have been taken care of.”

The Governor saved his harshest shots for Rice. He mentioned head basketball coaches at Duke, Kansas, Georgetown and St. Johns as people who get the job done without abusing players.

“They (the other coaches) have much higher pressure programs that they run with much greater expectations for winning than Rutgers yet they don’t conduct themselves like animals,” says Christie. “What parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son?”

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