MISSOULA — Former U.S. Rep. Pat Williams is defending — and repeating — his statements that University of Montana is recruiting "thugs" for its football team.
The Democrat, now a member of the Board of Regents overseeing the university system, first made his comments in a story that appeared in the New York Times on Thursday.
Williams told the Times that there has been a spate of sexual assaults, vandalism and beatings by football players. He told the newspaper, "The university has recruited thugs for its football team and this thuggery has to stop."
Williams defended those comments in an interview with KGVO-AM. He said there have been too many UM athletes convicted or suspended over the past year and that the current recruiting system lets in too many thugs.
He said he was not referring to ex-quarterback Jordan Johnson, whose rape trial began Friday.