Three Michigan State football players are currently under investigation by the university for their roles in alleged sexual assaults, and football coach Mark Dantonio has finally broken his silence on the situation.
A complaint against the three unnamed players was filed with Michigan State police in late January, and recruiting staffer Curtis Blackwell was suspended on February 14, though MSU would not discuss whether his suspension was related to the investigation.
Dantonio said the following about the investigation:
“With spring practice beginning last weekend and preparation for a new season underway, I feel it’s important to reinforce the core values and beliefs that have built and defined this program during my time at MSU.
Since arriving here 11 years ago, my passion has been to lead a program that fosters a culture of integrity, respect and accountability, both on and off the field. That will never change. I have high standards for the program and expect all of our players and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of Michigan State University. Our goal is to develop young men of character who graduate and make a positive impact on society.
Regarding the ongoing investigations taking place within our program, the allegations are something we’re extremely concerned about and taking very seriously. We took immediate action by suspending those involved as soon as we were notified of the situation. Our action is separate from the ongoing criminal and administrative investigations. Those processes will determine if a crime has been committed and also if any university policy has been violated.
Mark Hollis and the university administration have set forth expectations for this program that I fully support, and we have gone to great lengths to consistently educate all members of the football program on our standards of conduct. I expect all members of the football program to live up to those standards, and I’m doing everything necessary to help throughout this difficult process.
When the time is appropriate, I will be able to answer questions regarding our program and discuss our team. At this point in time, we have to respect the process of the investigations for everyone involved.”
That’s a whole lot of words that say absolutely nothing, and for now, it seems that’s all we’re going to get.
Michigan State University has been lacking in its response to sexual assault allegations for quite some time. The university allegedly turned away victims who say they were sexually assaulted by former Spartans team doctor Larry Nassar, and in 2015, the university was investigated by the Department of Education for lacking an appropriate response to sexual violence allegations. It agreed to change its procedures.