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With More Charges For Rather Hall Incident Mark Dantonio Faces a More Difficult Decision with DT Oren Wilson than any Other Player in His Head Coaching Career!

For Mark Dantonio the words character and integrity are not buzzwords. He is a man of immense integrity and the incident at Rather Hall not only bothered him as the leader of the MSU football program, but as a man.


Photo courtesy of the MSU SID.

Photo courtesy of the MSU SID.

He had to deal with players he trusted, players that he cared for and loved like a father turn their backs on him and the team. He had players tell him they weren’t involved and he trusted them. Some of them lied. In the end some came clean, others were found out and punishments were handed out. 


Spartan Nation reported on Monday that regardless of what has been reported the players are not reinstated. Something Mark Dantonio confirmed in an exclusive interview with Spartan Nation last Friday. Their punishment continues.


Late last year the MSU Police identified 13 of the 15 people involved. Now it is known who the other two are. WR Myles White will face two counts of assault or assault and battery and DT Oren Wilson will face three misdemeanor counts of assault or assault and battery.


There is a much bigger issue here. White didn’t travel to the bowl game because of a public urination and minor-in-possession charge, but Wilson did. Mark Dantonio released this statement today. "Oren Wilson and Myles White have been suspended indefinitely from all football-related activities. As with the previously suspended players, their status with the team will be re-evaluated on a case-by-case basis as their legal issues are resolved."


For the record, I like, or should say liked, Wilson prior to learning that he was likely to be one of the last remaining identified people. How could a young man with such a broad smile and gentle disposition commit such a selfish act? I am not talking about the ignorant fight. Kids make mistakes. I am talking about not coming forward and being a man by saying I did it. 


He traveled to the bowl and he enjoyed the fun, the parties, and the hoopla. He got to be part of all the fun and game itself. While his identified teammates sat home, were ostracized from the program, and took their punishment, he was in the fancy hotel in San Antonio.


The fight was bad. The not stepping forward was worse. This act of selfishness towards his teammates was the final straw. One Spartan defensive back told me about the fight before the bowl game. “It is really hard. We had some guys that came in the locker room and looked at us and told us they weren’t involved. To find out they were not only made what they did bad, but what about lying to their teammates? Coach talks a lot about trust, I can’t trust anyone who lied to me.”


I agree with him. Oren Wilson was given a great chance to play football at MSU. He was given a chance to admit a mistake. He didn’t. All of those things still keep me coming back to one issue.


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Forget public opinion. Forget the police and Mark Dantonio. A locker room is a sacred brotherhood. It is a place full of energy and testosterone and most of all a place of trust. By going to that game and playing, he betrayed those young men that were with him. Those that participated in the incident and stayed home are one thing, but the young men that did nothing wrong now have their heroic effort against Texas Tech tainted. 


Those young men gave us quotes in San Antonio like, “Those guys aren’t here, this is about MSU football and the guys that did it right.” That was from Rocco Cironi. How about this one from Danny Fortener? “The guys that did that aren’t here. These guys did it right and I just hope people remember that. These are the guys that represent the Spartans. I am proud of every guy that made this trip, they did things right.”


Oren Wilson doesn’t have great stats, because of how and what he plays. He is a big DT and like Haloti Ngata from the Baltimore Ravens does for All Pro MLB Ray Lewis, he takes on the OL at the point of the attack to let Greg Jones make his tackles. In fact, I said when the accolades were mounting for Greg Jones, “I wish Oren Wilson could get an assist award. Greg is great, but Oren sure ties up traffic for him.”


Those accolades aren’t what this is about. What could Mark Dantonio suspend him from to equal what the others went through? They gave up a bowl and all the hoopla that comes with it. What does he give up? Spring? O.K. A few games? If he is going to lose essentially eight months does that still count?


Let me tell you a story. One that I haven’t reported because I didn’t think it mattered until now. One player involved in Rather Hall lied to Mark Dantonio and his family when the incident went down. He has NEVER been in trouble and was scared. Prior to Mark’s punishment, at the behest of his mother after coming clean, he walked in and admitted his involvement.


This young man shouldn’t have gone to Rather Hall. He shouldn’t have lied to Mark Dantonio, but prior to being found out he stepped up and most of all manned up. All of us have done things we regret. All of us have, but he handled two dumb mistakes as well as anyone could.


What can you say about Wilson? What can Dantonio do? I am not saying that Wilson should never play football again. I am saying that Dantonio has to think long and hard about whether or not he plays at MSU.


I have never tried to tell Mark Dantonio how to run his football program. He has my complete trust. The difficult thing is how he deals with it and more importantly, how his locker room deals with it.


As a head coach, it isn’t all about the young man, it is about that al- important locker room and chemistry. The good news is that the man, who has to make the call, is the right man.


If Wilson were to stay a Spartan, his punishment must be considerably harsher than the one his teammates who joined him at Rather Hall got. Now the real question is if.