BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen knew that he would face questions involving Jeffery Simmons at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama. He was right.
Simmons was caught on tape punching a woman during an altercation after he had signed a football scholarship with Mississippi State.
The University investigated the incident and decided to suspend Simmons for one game. After that decision was made, Mississippi State received plenty of backlash for not handing out a stiffer penalty.
Mullen said, "I wasn't involved as much. It was a university decision, but I was just thrilled that we're having Jeffery as part of our family coming in. As I said, I take a lot of pride as a coach on developing young men to be champions, not just on the field, off the field, and every part of their life to be successful in whatever it is they do, and that's not an easy process."
Mullen received another question from a media member. When you recruit an enroll someone on your campus who has a violent incident in their past, what level of responsibility goes to the coach if that player then causes an incident on campus that turns one of your students into a victim?
Mullen responded, "I think one of the things you have to do, in any time a situation like that occurs, you have to have a great investigation into what happened, into getting as many details from as many people as you possibly can, to make good decisions, because you are responsible in a very high-profile position."
Mullen says he wants to give Simmons or anyone who makes a mistake, a chance to prove they can be successful in life.
"I would hate for anybody, for their life to be defined by only 10 seconds of video of your life, especially when you're a young 18-year-old, "stated Mullen. "That you don't have an opportunity to get an education, that you don't get an opportunity to be mentored by father figures when you don't have a father."
You can see both sides of the situation. The young man obviously made a huge mistake by punching a women. Should he lose his chance to better himself and become a success in life or should he become another promising athlete who has fallen to the wayside?
Mississippi State decided to give Simmons another chance. Obviously, if he makes another serious mistake, the opportunity to continue his football career in Starkville would most likely come to an end.
Simmons has been handed a golden opportunity, a second chance, and it's up to him to live up to the expectations of Mississippi State and head coach Dan Mullen.
Simmons will miss the Bulldogs first game of the season, the South Alabama game set for September 3 in Starkville.