Jim Harbaugh expects 4 Michigan State players to be charged

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Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker watches Michigan in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya )

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Jim Harbaugh expects the four suspended Michigan State football players involved in the beating of two Michigan team members to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

“I can’t imagine it won’t result in criminal charges,” the Michigan coach said Monday.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said later Monday that it would be irresponsible to respond to Harbaugh’s call for criminal charges because of the ongoing investigation.

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

Harbaugh said defensive back Gemon Green was hit by a Spartans player in the tunnel at Michigan Stadium to spark the melee shortly after the fourth-ranked Wolverines beat their state rivals on Saturday night, and that his teammate Ja’Den McBurrows was attacked when he tried to help.

McBurrows is seen on video shared on social media being pushed, punched and kicked by several Michigan State players, who pulled him out of the tunnel and into a hallway that does not lead to any of the locker rooms.

Harbaugh said both players are injured, adding that he doesn’t know if Green, a starting cornerback for a third straight season, will be cleared to play Saturday night at Rutgers.

“It was a very traumatic experience for everyone, especially for Ja’Den and Gemon,” Harbaugh said.

Attorney Tom Mars, who represents Green, said his client deserves compensation for his injuries, including a concussion.

“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 told The Associated Press. “I have news for the MSU players who did this to Gemon. They are going to feel the full wrath of the law.

Tucker announced Sunday night that linebacker Tank Brown, safety Angelo Grose, defensive end Zion Young and cornerback Khary Crump were immediately suspended. Tucker said the decision was made after “reviewing the disturbing electronic evidence”.

Brown, Grose and Young are seen on video getting physical with McBurrows. With the Michigan Marching Band playing the school fight song nearby, Crump is seen punching Green in the tunnel in video captured by ESPN.

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

Tucker was very close to the suite, standing in the tunnel as Green was surrounded by police and escorted to the locker room as he yelled at the Michigan State players.

McBurrows and Green walked up the tunnel alongside the Spartans after the game as many Michigan players waved their rivals off the field and more Wolverines celebrated near the stadium’s student section.

“These two players did the same thing in the Penn State game, did the same thing in previous games,” Harbaugh said when asked why Green and McBurrows weren’t with the rest of their teammates. . “They go up the tunnel with the other players.”

University of Michigan Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said an investigation began Saturday night in partnership with Michigan State Police, the Michigan Athletic Department and the United States Football Program. Wolverines.

“The investigation is continuing,” Overton said Monday.

Tucker said the school is working with law enforcement, Michigan State and Michigan campus leaders and the Big Ten Conference to assess what happened, including identifying other players involved. in altercations and contributing factors.

“The suspensions will allow players to receive academic support and medical services, but they will not be able to attend any organized team activities,” said Tucker, who said the suspensions would remain in place until investigations are completed. .

Tucker’s head was hit in the tunnel by a fan in the stands on Saturday night and the coach responded by wiping the fan’s hand.

Michigan State President Samuel Stanley has apologized for the “violent” skirmish.

“On behalf of Michigan State University, my sincere apologies to the University of Michigan and the student-athletes who were injured,” Stanley said in a statement.

Harbaugh said Monday apologizing was not enough, and Green’s attorney agreed.

“When college football players brutally attack a member of the opposing team with their helmets, resulting in concussion and other injuries, an apology will not be enough,” Mars said. “There must be serious consequences for this kind of misconduct.”

The Big Ten said Sunday it was gathering information and planning to take appropriate action.

It was the second straight game and third in seven games at Michigan Stadium that included an altercation in the long, narrow tunnel that climbs a steep incline from the field to the locker room.

Earlier this month, Penn State coach James Franklin said a policy change was needed to allow more orderly use of the tunnel after the halftime exchange of words. Last year, Ohio State and Michigan players had a very busy showdown in the tunnel at halftime.

Harbaugh said Franklin acted as a “point guard” and claimed the Nittany Lions stopped in the tunnel to prevent his team from accessing his locker room.

When asked if Tucker set the tone for his team’s behavior, Harbaugh declined to comment.

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Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage

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This story was originally published October 31, 2022 9:59 a.m.

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