When Dan Mullen took the stage today at SEC Media Days, it was expected that he'd address the controversial decision to admit Jeffery Simmons and allow him to play on the team. Thanks to twitter, we are able to see what was said in the press conference.
One of the first questions was about why Simmons was enrolled and allowed on the team:
Dan Mullen speaking on Jeffrey Simmons. #SECMD16 pic.twitter.com/EsgJSpks9E
— Brian Stultz (@brianjstultz) July 12, 2016
Mullen asked about Jeffrey Simmons: One of the things we want to do as coach is help young men make good decisions— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) July 12, 2016
Another issue many were confused about was regarding the decision to let him wear the number 36, Nick Bell's old number
Mullen on Simmons wearing No. 36: That’s not finalized. That’s something we’re going to continue to look at.— Ben Wait (@bcwait) July 12, 2016
Mullen: Simmons wearing No. 36 is not finalized. Best way to honor numbers is having people wear them.— Daniel Paulling (@DanielPaulling) July 12, 2016
Simmons has been provisionally assigned No. 36. Nick Bell’s old number. Bell died of cancer in 2010.— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) July 12, 2016
Mullen non-committal on # assignments
From there, he went on to discuss as to why the punishment was decided to be what it was.
Mullen says he didn't play a major role in deciding Simmons' punishment. It was done by the university. He's happy to have him on the team.— loganlowery (@loganlowery) July 12, 2016
And before any ? Mullen not being involved big in Simmons call: it was up to the school about admission obviously. Not to any coach.— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) July 12, 2016
Which this might honestly not have been a bad thing. Keeping the football team out of making decisions that would impact the entire athletic department and the university was the best way to handle this. Letting Mark Keenum and Scott Stricklin decide Simmons fate may have been the best route that MSU could have taken.
And of course, we now know the outcome of that decision and investigation.
One last crack at Mullen on Simmons: Our univ. did a very thorough investigation, concluded Jeffrey deserved a chance. #SECMD16— Scott Rabalais (@RabalaisAdv) July 12, 2016
There were a lot of tough questions regarding the situation, but at least Dan Mullen owned up a bit at the end and admitted that if something does indeed go wrong (hopefully nothing ever does), then the responsibility for Simmons' actions falls on his shoulders as his coach and the shoulders of all who went about admitting him.
Mullen: "We’re all responsible" ("all" Miss St officials involved in decision to admit Jeffrey Simmons) if Simmons gets into further trouble— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 12, 2016
Mullen on if something goes wrong w/ Simmons: "We’re all responsible… I’m responsible for all my players."— Joel Coleman (@JoelTColeman) July 12, 2016
Here's that Mullen answer on whether he bears responsibility if Simmons has an incident while a Miss State student. pic.twitter.com/S1DXw1RMNj— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 12, 2016
This story won't likely ever go away anytime soon. And it shouldn't. It's right for the media to cover this issue, even if it is an emotionally taxing one.
Jeffery Simmons has been given a second chance, let's hope he uses it to the fullest and continues to better himself off the field.