Mel Tucker publicly responded to his accuser Monday, a day after Michigan State suspended the head coach for alleged sexual harassment.
Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault awareness activist, filed a complaint with MSU in December alleging Tucker sexually harassed her in 2022. She alleged he made a series of phone calls to her, bought her gifts and invited her to his hotel room.
Tracy had spoken to Michigan State’s players before on the issue of harassment.
Tucker fired back at those allegations through his attorney, Jennifer Z. Belveal.
“Brenda Tracy’s allegations of harassment are completely false,” the statement read. “The proceedings initiated by Ms. Tracy are devoid of any semblance of fairness … and the University’s ‘hearing’ scheduled for October 5-6 is so flawed that there is no other opportunity for the truth to come out. That is why I share some truth with you now.”
Tucker’s statement explained how he invited Tracy to speak to MSU players, and that the two engaged in dozens of phone calls. He said the two “developed a mutual friendship that grew into an intimate, adult relationship.”
Tracy released information to the media that, among other things, claimed he’d called her and engaged in “phone sex” with her in April 2022. She said that as a rape survivor, his treatment opened old wounds.
“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” Tracy told USA Today. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”
Tucker disputes Tracy’s claims, and notes that an investigator reportedly found that the two had a “personal relationship,” and shared “deeply personal and private information with each other.”
“Let me be perfectly clear,” Tucker’s statement read, about the phone sex claims. “It was an entirely mutual, private event between two adults living at opposite ends of the country.”
“Never once in the 36 minutes did she object in any manner, much less hang up the phone.”
Suspended MSU football coach Mel Tucker responds to allegations by Brenda Tracy via his attorney, Jennifer Z. Belveal. pic.twitter.com/eiw0L0CujQ
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) September 11, 2023
Tucker, 52, joined the Spartans in 2020 and is 19-15 in three-plus seasons.
The sports world quickly responded to Tucker’s statement.
Would seem he is going scorched earth in an attempt to get the school to give him a settlement to go away?
B/c there's no coming back to work after this.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 11, 2023
It is indeed a big deal, but the punishment could range from one game suspension to termination depending on whether it is consensual and whether the school wants to get out from under the contract anyways due to performance reasons.
— Echo Channel (@channel_echo) September 11, 2023
Isn’t this what co workers do all of the time? Also sounds like this was over the phone – not allowed?
— Kyle Washington (@KyleWashington) September 11, 2023
Yea, agree that it can’t be fixed
Settlement is gonna be higher than zero tho
— Steve (@steevelove_) September 11, 2023