Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss updates on the brutal beating of Michigan players by Michigan State players after the teams faced off on Saturday, and debate if we will see criminal charges and convictions for the attack.
DAN WETZEL: The brawl in the big house, if it's even a brawl. Sort of-- I mean, I can't say it escalated because I don't believe anyone was injured on Monday, but we had dueling press conferences, a half hour and 65 miles apart. Jim Harbaugh comes in strong, claiming what happened in the tunnel was egregious, sickening to watch. There needs to be accountability, full, thorough, timely investigation, and a couple of the big quotes-- "I can't imagine this will not result in criminal charges." The videos are bad. It's clear what transpired. It's open and shut. As they say, watch the tape.
Mel Tucker did come out. He apologized. He's yet to throw up any kind of real defense, and then he had a line where he just kept basically saying out of respect for the integrity of the investigation, it would be irresponsible for me to comment now. I think he was just saying that. I don't think he was directing it and suggesting that Harbaugh was irresponsible to comment, but he could have.
Gemon Greene, who was the one who-- there's blurry video-- background video of him getting hit. Someone swinging-- an unidentified Michigan State player swinging a helmet at him. And he is not wearing a helmet. He is apparently the one who was first involved in this. He hired noted attorney, Tom Mars, who finds his way into all sorts of mischief in college athletics. Pat, you start with this. The Tom Mars is involvement, and the-- they're going to press charges, the Green family.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, yeah, I reported that Monday afternoon. Michigan State fans were fond of saying Tuck coming, we got bad news for Michigan State, Mars coming. He is a blunt force guy, and he had a blunt force statement that he gave me regarding this, he said, "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.
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."
DAN WETZEL: Oh, boy.
PAT FORDE: And there you have it.
ROSS DELLENGER: It sounds like a lawyer wrote that, Pat.
PAT FORDE: It does.
DAN WETZEL: He is that. Yeah he's like the F around and find out guy.
PAT FORDE: Yes.
DAN WETZEL: As Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze did.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, big time, and, obviously, you guys might know this more than me, but there has been criminal charges against players associated with stuff around a game before. And I feel like a lot of times, players get out of it because it's something on the field of play, or the arena of the game, but this was, obviously, off the field completely in a tunnel. And so you got to wonder if, like, finally, we might actually have some serious, criminal consequences for the actions.
DAN WETZEL: Let me hear your take on the Michigan State fan pushback. Now, this is not the school. They're not even trying to trot this out. But it's all Harbaugh's fault.
PAT FORDE: Oh, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: The building's very old, but there were not these fights in the tunnel until Harbaugh came along. Now, there's the peanut butter and jelly gate with Penn State. There was an incident last year at half, or before the game, a lot of jawing with Ohio State, and now there's this one. And the belief is Harbaugh lets his players talk unbelievable amounts of smack.
The whole bit. This is Michigan-- Michigan's problem. This is a-- Michigan State doesn't want to elevate it. Michigan State wins the game last year. You don't see any issues. They know how to celebrate amongst themselves. They were leaving as they were supposed to, and these two players of Michigan went into the-- they were supposed to wait, and they didn't. They just left too early and, they got in the middle there. Ross, can you blame Michigan in this, because there's a lot of people here blaming Michigan?
ROSS DELLENGER: No. No. No, I don't think-- I don't think you can blame Michigan. Isn't football and sports in general, supposed to be kind of fun and, you know, you're going to let your players kind of celebrate a win and kind of chill a little bit and not be so uptight about things? I mean, it's supposed to be fun. And part of being 18, 19, 20-year-old is, yeah, like, talking the old smack and all that.
And I think that's-- I think that's fine. And you can't convince me that if they didn't do all that, that this would have happened anyway or whatever. It just doesn't make any sense.