Christie Commends Rutgers President for 'Decisive Leadership' in Basketball Firings

Christie Commends Rutgers President for 'Decisive Leadership' in Basketball Firings

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said it was “appropriate” for Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti to resign and praised Rutgers president Robert Barch for his leadership.

“I commend President Barchi for his decisive leadership in coming to an agreement with Mr. Pernetti to have the Athletic Department of Rutgers University come under new leadership,” Christie said on Friday. “This entire incident was regrettable and while it has damaged the reputation of our state University, we need to move forward now on a number of fronts which provide great opportunities for Rutgers’ future.

Mike Rice, Rutgers basketball coach, was fired after a video came to light that showed him hitting players and taking out his anger issues on them by hurling basketballs at and slurring them. His assistant, called Rice’s “Mini-me,” Jimmy Martelli, who was also engaging in similar behavior on the videos, was also fired. 

According to the New York Post, though, Barchi, the president, did not watch the DVD of Rice physically and verbally berating his players until Tuesday evening because he had “six hours of face-to-face meetings in front of hundreds of people” and the DVD reportedly did not work on his laptop.

Pernetti gave Barchi a copy of the DVD, which ESPN obtained and released on Tuesday, on Tuesday morning. Every news channel played footage of Rice throwing basketball and slurring his players that dad. Yet, Barchi reportedly did not see any of the footage until later that night. 

Rice was fired on Wednesday, Martelli on Thursday, and Pernetti resigned on Friday.

Barchi also had a chance to see the video last November, but he said he opted not to because he felt the assessment of his subordinates on what was on the video was not enough for him to watch the video. He said he decided Rice should be fired as soon as he saw the video on Tuesday, allegedly after almost everyone else in the country had seen some footage of it.