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Mississippi State just embarrassed college football, which is saying something

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Mississippi State's suspended its top freshman for repeatedly punching a woman. That suspension for punching a woman is for one game. Unless everyone is missing a nuanced detail about the player's one-game suspension for punching a woman, that single game will be against lowly South Alabama. For punching a woman multiple times.

That's shameful, and MSU only made this story worse, from the message it sends to women, to what it says to future five-stars.

Jeffery Simmons apologized extensively and swiftly. He was charged with simple assault and disturbing the peace, both misdemeanors. The woman he punched was in a tussle with his sister, and his initial actions in the video could be interpreted as trying to separate the women. If we take him at his word, he's a person hoping to be defined by more than an act of violence.

None of those is a reason he should essentially go unpunished by his football program. They suggest he's not regularly a man who punches women, but they don't change anything about the fact that he did.

Even based on college football's deplorable precedent, MSU should've suspended him for at least a year.

Florida State rapidly booted a backup quarterback who punched a woman, but one year is how long Oklahoma suspended five-star Joe Mixon, who did the same during a dispute and was charged with a misdemeanor.

Those who've seen that video say Mixon's single punch was devastating. His victim suffered broken bones, he didn't express immediate and public remorse, and he wasn't arguably trying to break up any fights. Because of factors like those, OU was torched for stopping at one year.

Should MSU have declined to enroll Simmons? Sent him to a JUCO? Kept him on campus for a close watch and counseling, while not letting him play (MSU says it's doing the former ... while letting him play)? Those sound like the points for discussion, not whether he should be back in time for the SEC opener against South Carolina.

Unfortunately, college football coaches and admins factor this: if you boot a five-star, a rival could sign him.

That rival could consider the NCAA-mandated transfer redshirt season to coincide happily with his theoretical punishment. The player would thus actually be suspended for zero games, and he would play against your team soon.

MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin essentially admitted the possibility of another team signing his five-star factored into his decision:

(Hey, one more reason to end that transfer rule. If you boot a player, that should put the entire onus for further punishing him on the team that scoops him up. Don't let that school treat a mandated season off the field like it's a suspension.)

The public did not allow Oklahoma to just move past its decision to keep Mixon, whose first comments a year later made for a debacle.

MSU just gave a player with a similar action one-thirteenth Mixon's punishment. This will remain a public embarrassment for as long as Simmons, Stricklin, and head coach Dan Mullen remain on campus, and then some.


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