Jim Harbaugh says he expects 'criminal charges' for Michigan State players

Jim Harbaugh says he expects ‘criminal charges’ for Michigan State players


Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said on Monday he expects “criminal charges” to emerge from an investigation into violence that erupted in the stadium tunnel on Saturday after his Wolverines lost in visit to Michigan State.

Noting an ‘ongoing police investigation’, Harbaugh said: ‘What happened in the tunnel was egregious. It’s sickening to watch the videos, the ones that are on social media right now.

Video of the incident from different angles showed several Spartans players appearing to attack Michigan’s Ja’Den McBurrows and Gemon Green. On Sunday, Michigan State coach Mel Tucker announced the indefinite suspensions of four players: redshirt sophomore linebacker Itayvion “Tank” Brown, redshirt sophomore cornerback Khary Crump , junior safety Angelo Grose and freshman defensive end Zion Young.

“We’re not here to make excuses for Saturday’s behaviors,” Tucker said at a Monday news conference. “They are unacceptable.”

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“There has to be accountability,” Harbaugh told reporters earlier in the day. “There must be a full, thorough and timely investigation.

“I can’t imagine it won’t result in criminal charges,” he continued. “The videos are bad, and what happened is clear. It’s very open and closed. As they say, watch the tape.

In a video that was shared shortly after the match ended, Brown, Grose and Young could be seen pushing and punching and kicking McBurrows. Footage from an ABC/ESPN camera mounted in the tunnel that emerged on Monday appeared to show Green being hit with a Spartans helmet, with Crump involved in the fracas. In that footage, another Michigan State player who was not immediately suspended, linebacker/defensive end Jacoby Windmon, could be seen putting on his helmet and grabbing Green.

Harbaugh said placing the ABC/ESPN camera at a “higher elevation” allowed him to show “a lot more of what happened” during the incident.

“I came into this from the perspective of being a parent,” Harbaugh said. “These young men are entrusted to me by their families in our program, and we have a responsibility to every player to treat them as our own, and I take that responsibility very seriously. An apology won’t do the job in this case. There should be serious consequences for the many people who are guilty.

In a statement released late Sunday evening by the Spartans Athletic Department, Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said he was “extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior described by the members of our football program”.

“On behalf of Michigan State University, my sincere apologies to the University of Michigan and the student-athletes who were injured,” Stanley continued. “There is no provocation that could justify the behavior we see on the videos. Rivalries can be intense but should never be violent.

Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said in a concurrent statement that the suspensions for all four players were “necessary” in light of “alarming evidence” of their involvement.

Tucker issued a further apology at Monday’s press conference.

“We are deeply sorry to both universities, the conference, our fans, alumni, supporters and of course all of our student-athletes, past and present,” said the coach, who is in his third season with the Spartans.

“Incidents involving a small group of our players do not represent our culture,” Tucker added.

Citing police and academic/Big Ten investigations, Tucker declined to comment on reporters’ questions about Harbaugh’s mention of possible criminal charges and whether it “binds” him that other Spartans players don’t. have not done more to stop the attacks.

In response to reporters at his press conference, Harbaugh did not explain why McBurrows, a second-year defensive back, and Green, a graduate defensive back, were walking through the tunnel to the locker room at the same time as the players. State of Michigan. After games at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, the visiting team and its staff are the first to leave the field and enter the tunnel, followed by the Wolverines contingent.

At halftime in Michigan’s previous home game, a win over Penn State, Wolverines and Nittany Lions got a heated exchange. Penn State coach James Franklin then described the shared use of a tunnel as “a problem”, after which Harbaugh accused Franklin of being the “leader” of the confrontation. Franklin called for a minute or two “buffer” before the Michigan players followed the visiting team into the tunnel and predicted at the time that the ill will that emerged during his team’s visit at Michigan Stadium “won’t be the last” of his kind.

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On Monday, Harbaugh downplayed the configuration of the tunnel as a problem and reiterated that Michigan State’s “actions of these individuals” were at fault. He added that he wasn’t sure Green, who made 21 starts for Michigan during his career, would be available for the Wolverines’ next 8-0 game on Saturday at Rutgers.

“It’s been a very traumatic experience for everyone, especially Ja’Den and Gemon,” said Harbaugh, a former Michigan star in his eighth season as coach.

A lawyer for Green, Tom Mars, told The Associated Press that those involved in his client’s attack “will feel the full wrath of the law.”

“Serious consequences in this case will deter others who might think they can get away with brutally beating an opposing player and only getting a slap on the wrist,” Mars said. “…When college football players brutally attack a member of the opposing team with their helmets, resulting in a concussion and other injuries, an apology will not be enough. There must be serious consequences for this kind of misconduct.

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