Examining the facts in the Jeffrey Simmons situation

Nov 28, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; The sun sets before the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi won 38-27. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 28, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; The sun sets before the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi won 38-27. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that we’ve had a day to let the dust settle, let’s take a look at the facts in the case to understand the full picture.

In case you missed hit, prized 5-star defensive end Jeffrey Simmons was involved in an altercation in which he hit a female.

Regardless of what was said in the altercation, he hit a female – and that’s the story. If he had punched a male it would have been news for about an hour and then forgotten as young people in a fight. Obviously violence from a male against a female is in almost all cases unacceptable, but also there is a disturbing trend among athletes relating to domestic violence.

This incident, however, presents an unusual twist.

  1. it was videotaped
  2. it was a fight in the street with many people around rather than in the home
  3. Simmons is not an MSU student yet.

The question is: what should Dan Mullen do about this situation? Obviously all the facts are not in, but when there is a video of Simmons hitting an unarmed women there’s not too many more facts needed.

Is what Simmons did grounds for immediate dismissal from his scholarship / Mississippi State?

As with most things in adult life, it’s a gray area. Simmons is barely an adult, but he’s about to learn these things.

I don’t know Simmons personally, but people who do claim this is completely out of character from him. Some people may not buy that, but I can. Personally, I can vividly remember an incident when I was 19 in which a person who had a recent history of disturbance called a family member of mine a nasty word. I absolutely snapped. I was so mad it was almost like I was outside of my body. At no other point in my life have I been that mad, not before nor since, as I am generally a very calm person. So I can believe this is an isolated incident that will never happen again.

Simmons’ sister was involved in this altercation. This wasn’t a situation where he was involved just because, or some type of gang activity. He was defending his sister, even if his means to do it were wrong. That could point to this being an isolated incident as well.

More from Mississippi State Football

Isolated incidents in a vacuum are not absolute reasons to give someone a second chance. An 18 year old with no history of violence who commits murder still has to serve a life sentence in prison. If they prove not to be violent while in prison they’ll probably get a second chance in their 30s or 40s, but by then their life is essentially ruined.

There are consequences for actions, no matter how out of character they are or how old you are.

About a month ago we were reminded of Peyton Manning’s incident when he was 19 where he exposed himself/assaulted a female trainer. I think we can say that was an isolated incident.

By the same token that Manning was able to move on, should Simmons? Or was the Manning situation totally botched?

If Simmons were already a student at MSU, you’d have to think severe punishment would be in order. Perhaps even immediate dismissal. The fact that he is still in high school really throws the story a curve ball.

Part of the selling point of coming to State is they enter as a boy and leave as a man. Never letting him on campus means he’ll never get to learn that side of college football.

On the other hand, you don’t want to let him off the hook, giving a free pass to future high school seniors who have signed but are not on campus yet.

Next: Who will star in spring practice?

If you let him walk, he’ll end up at Ole Miss. It’s almost guaranteed. Hugh Freeze has a history of keeping players in similar situations, and many SEC coaches have grabbed talented players who were kicked out of another program (probably more than half kicked off UGA).

Dan Mullen has a history of swift punishment for domestic violence. He kicked Justin Cox off the team so fast he didn’t have time to blink. But again, this was a street fight so it’s a little different….and Simmons isn’t on the team yet.

I don’t know what Coach Mullen will do. My guess is we won’t hear much about it for a long while. Simmons will most likely be kicked off the team or punished internally with no “announced” suspension.

I’m hoping for the latter. Dan Mullen has a history as a disciplinarian so he should have our trust in that area. He’ll gather all the information he can and make a decision. I hope Simmons gets a second chance and never has an incident like this again. We can all learn from our mistakes, and Jeffrey can do it at MSU.