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Mark Dantonio issues statement, confirms MSU media blackout due to sexual assault investigatioin

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State Spartans

Yesterday we wondered out loud if Michigan State’s not only external, but internal media blackout was due to things happening off the field. Today we got our answer. 

That answer was a simple “you’re right” to those who believed that was going on. Rather than make a public appearance in front of the media, Dantonio had the athletic department issue a statement about what is happening with access to the football program.

We got the conformation of MSU’s blackout being due to sexual assault allegations and investigation against three players and a former coach in the statement. However, Dantonio buried the reason in the final sentence of his statement, saying simply:

“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.”

Certainly this is the smart and right move for all involved. Let the police, prosecutors and administration handle their various ends and shut your mouth. Nothing good comes of commenting on a situation that is far from solved and certainly sensitive in nature.

Back the players and ex-coach and they are found guilty of sexual assault and you look horrific at best. Throw your players under the bus and speak out against them before allegations turn in to charges or convictions and what message does it send within the locker room?

The good news is that Dantonio also made it clear what kind of culture he has tried to build within the MSU football program. He also talked about the expectations of his players personally on and off the field.

Here is the full statement from Dantonio courtesy of the Detroit Free Press:

“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.

“(Athletic director) 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.”

So, until that investigation is done, expect a very quite news cycle on or off the field in East Lansing. The big question is just when will the on-going investigation, which has reached the stage of recommending arrest warrants and the prosecutors office asking for more investigation to be done, will actually conclude.

[Detroit Free Press]

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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