Michigan State University has suspended four football players for their role in the beating of two University of Michigan players after a heated game between the longtime rivals on Saturday, The Detroit Free Press reported. Big Ten Conference officials as well as police officials from both universities have launched investigations of the incident.
After MSU lost 29 to 7, multiple Spartans attacked two Michigan players, Ja’Den McBurrows and Gemon Green, in the tunnel under the stadium. The MSU players punched Green in the head and then pushed McBurrows to the ground, where they proceeded to punch and kick him while he was down, bludgeoning him with their helmets. The violent altercation was captured on multiple videos.
MSU head coach Mel Tucker said the suspensions are just “preliminary actions” based on the “disturbing” video evidence and that further action could be taken depending on the results of the investigations.
“We are currently working with law enforcement, Michigan State and Michigan campus leadership, and the Big Ten Conference to further evaluate the events in Ann Arbor, including but not limited to, additional student-athlete participation in the altercations and contributing factors,” Tucker wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said at a press conference Monday that “an apology would not get the job done” and that he “can’t imagine this will not result in criminal charges.”
“These young men are entrusted by their families to our program, and we have a responsibility to each player to treat them like our own,” he said. “I take that responsibility very seriously.”
As of Tuesday, McBurrows was still being treated for facial injuries sustained during the attack. Green suffered a concussion and has hired an attorney, potentially to file a lawsuit against the Michigan State players.
“There has to be severe consequences for this kind of misconduct,” said Tom Mars, Green’s lawyer. “I’ve got news for the MSU players who did this to Gemon. They are going to feel the full wrath of the law.”