Jim Harbaugh said he expects the four Michigan State players suspended for their involvement in roughing up two Michigan players to be charged.
Scuffles broke out in the Michigan Stadium tunnel after fourth-ranked Wolverines beat the Spartans 29-7 Saturday night in Ann Arbor. Social media posts immediately following the incident showed Michigan State players pushing, punching and kicking Michigan’s Ja’Den McBurrows in and near a hallway that doesn’t lead to either locker room.
Spartans coach Mel Tucker announced Sunday night that linebacker Tank Brown, safety Angelo Grose, defensive end Zion Young and cornerback Khary Crump were suspended immediately for their involvement in the tunnel altercation.
‘Michigan State University football core values include integrity, discipline, unselfishness, toughness and accountability,’ said Tucker, who made the decision after ‘reviewing the disturbing electronic evidence.’
However, Michigan coach Harbaugh believes the four should be punished further, saying he ‘can’t imagine that this will not result in criminal charges.’
‘Right now we have an ongoing police investigation,’ Harbaugh said Monday. ‘What happened in the tunnel was egregious. Sickening to watch the videos, the ones that are on social media right now.’
Coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects the four Michigan State players suspended for their involvement in roughing up two Michigan players on Saturday to be charged
New video footage has surfaced from Saturday’s Michigan-Michigan State brawl, showing a Wolverines player being hit with a Spartan player’s helmet during the post-game melee
The latest video appears to show a Spartan player swinging and hitting a Michigan player with his helmet. The Wolverines player seems to be alone as several Spartans surround him. Although the tunnel was crowded, the attack is clearly visible in the background
Harbaugh added that an ABC camera placed in a ‘higher elevation’ provides footage of ‘much more of what took place’ during the incident.
‘There needs to be accountability,’ he said. ‘There needs to be a full, thorough, timely investigation. I can’t imagine this will not result in criminal charges. The videos are bad. It’s clear what transpired. This is very open and shut. As they say, watch the tape.
‘I’m coming from this from a perspective of being a parent. These young men are entrusted to me by their families and to our program, and we have the responsibility to each player to treat them like our own, and I take that responsibility very seriously. An apology will not get the job done in this instance. There should be serious consequences for the many individuals that are culpable.’
Gemon Green and McBurrows headed up the tunnel alongside the Spartans players after the game, while their teammates stayed on the field waving their opponents off or celebrated near the stadium’s student sections, according to ESPN.
Harbaugh said that Green was punched by a Spartan player in the tunnel, while McBurrows was attacked when he stepped in to try and help.
Green has hired attorney Tom Mars, who has handled several eligibility cases for college athletes, to represent him in the assault case.
‘When college football players brutally attack a member of the opposing team with their helmets, resulting in the player suffering a concussion and other injuries, an apology won’t suffice,’ Mars said in a statement.
‘There has to be severe consequences for this kind of misconduct. Not only does Gemon Green deserve to be compensated for his injuries, severe consequences in this case will deter others who might think they can get away with brutally beating an opposing player and only get a slap on the wrist.
‘I’ve got news for the MSU players who did this to Gemon. They are going to feel the full wrath of the law.’
Shocking new footage surfaced Monday from the brawl showing a Wolverines player being hit with a Spartan player’s helmet during the post-game melee.
Social media video shows multiple Michigan State players attacking a single opponent (above)
Defensive back Ja’Den McBurrows (yellow) was pushed, punched and kicked in the tunnel
The latest video appears to show a Spartan player swinging and hitting a Michigan player with his helmet. The Wolverines player seems to be alone as several Spartans surround him.
Another video, shared by Maize n Brew’s Trevor Woods, also shows the helmet-swinging footage and includes a shot of a MSU staffer leading players away from the fighting.
In the footage that emerged Saturday, McBurrows and defensive back Green are seen walking alongside Spartans player in the tunnel after beating their in-state rivals for the first time in three years.
Michigan coach Harbaugh said Saturday night that one of the players, who he did not identify, might have a broken nose. A social media post on Sunday showed a Wolverine, who appears to be Green, getting roughed up by Spartans.
Green, in another post, is surrounded by police while shouting across the tunnel at Michigan State players.
University of Michigan Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said an investigation is underway in partnership with Michigan State police, and Michigan’s athletic department and football program.
‘The investigation is taking some time,’ Overton said Sunday.
Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker (pictured Saturday) has suspended four players so far
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines shakes hands with head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on Saturday
Tucker said the school is working with law enforcement, Michigan State and Michigan campus leadership, and the Big Ten Conference to evaluate what happened, including identifying other players who were involved in the altercations and contributing factors.
‘The initial student-athlete suspensions will remain in place until the investigations are completed,’ Tucker said. ‘The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, personnel, and the Spartan community remain our priority. You have my promise that we are committed to fairness, transparency and accountability, and that we will continue to take appropriate action in this matter.’
Earlier on Sunday, Michigan State President Samuel Stanley publicly apologized for the ‘violent’ skirmish.
‘I’m extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior depicted by members of our football program,’ Stanley said in a statement.
Michigan beat fierce local rivals MSU 29-7 at Michigan Stadium in what was a heated clash
‘On behalf of Michigan State University, my heartfelt apology to the University of Michigan and the student athletes who were injured.
‘There is no provocation that could justify the behavior we are seeing on the videos. Rivalries can be intense but should never be violent.’
The Big Ten said in a statement: ‘The conference is currently gathering information, will thoroughly review the facts, and will take appropriate action.’
As Tucker walked off the field and entered the tunnel at some point Saturday night, a fan appeared to touch his head and the coach responded by swiping the fan’s hand away.
It was the second straight game at Michigan that included an altercation in the long, narrow tunnel that goes from the locker rooms to the field.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines calms down his team after defeating the Michigan State Spartans and waiting to shake hands with head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 29
Earlier this month, Penn State coach James Franklin said a policy change was needed to provide a more orderly use of the tunnel.
Some heated words were exchanged, and Michigan players said Penn State players threw peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at them as the teams headed to the locker room at halftime of a close game the Wolverines ultimately won in a 41-17 rout on October 15.
Harbaugh said Franklin acted as a ‘ringleader’ and claimed the Nittany Lions stopped in the tunnel to prevent his team from accessing its locker room.