One of my favorite columnists, Bill Simmons of ESPN.com, has a rule where he won’t allow himself to write about a particularly painful loss or sports issue until all the emotion has worn off.
I attempted to do the same about the recent news of eight MSU football players being suspended for beating down some frat boys at a residence hall. But the anger and embarrassment over this are not going away anytime soon.
Eight players, three of them starters, suspended and two more kicked off the team altogether. Just one question remains after all this carnage.
What the hell were they thinking?
And the worst part? There’s no answer.
Glenn Winston, the now-infamous running back who spent four months in jail for an off-campus fight during the 2008 season, may be the most disappointing story to come out of this entire ordeal. Head coach Mark Dantonio stuck his neck out for Winston—bringing him back on to the team after he had served his jail sentence—and was rewarded with yet another embarrassment.
News came out today that Alamo Bowl officials are keeping an eye on the situation, most likely because the Spartans will offer little to no resistance to their opponent in a bowl game missing many of these players. Not being offered a bowl bid based on these suspensions would be one of the biggest setbacks the program has suffered in recent memory.
The feeling of shock, embarrassment, and outright disgust has rippled through MSU’s campus all week. The front page of The State News was simple on Wednesday morning: the eight players’ pictures and a black background. How appropriate, a black background for one of the blackest moments in Dantonio’s tenure here.
Failing on the field is one thing. Disappointing losses, blown coverages, missed blocks, and dropped passes fade away. Failing off the field, especially in such a public and egregious way, is a different story.
This was not a normal fight between college students. It was a choreographed attack on a bunch of frat boys—frat boys who are nonetheless in no way the innocent angels their lawyers or statements would have you believe. There’s more to the story there than what has been made public.
It’s sickening. It’s disgusting. It’s insulting. And it may have just cost this program its last chance at winning a bowl game this decade.