Imagine If Michigan State Kept A Player Active For 2 Months Following A Felony Charge
Well, well, well. It turns out that all the worst people in your life who've been lecturing you about class, morality, and doing things "the right way" for the last several weeks are completely full of shit. Who could have possibly seen that coming?
Mazi Smith, star defensive lineman and captain for the University of Michigan, was formally charged in Washtenaw County yesterday with carrying a concealed weapon, which is a felony. If you think it's peculiar that such a high-profile case was officially entered into the public record with absolutely no fanfare, then just wait.
The charge stems from an incident waaaaaaaaaay back on Oct. 7, according to court records. Smith played literally the next day when U-M beat Indiana. In fact, Smith has played in every single game for the Wolverines since the incident occurred.
Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, who wants you to know that he's totally and 100 percent not at all compromised and that he's for sure not a walking-and-talking conflict of interest, told Channel 7 in Detroit that his office received the warrant request on Oct. 17. Savit and his office "authorized and processed" the case a full month later on Nov. 17 then formally charged Smith another two weeks after that, conveniently punting the matter to after Michigan's regular season finale at Ohio State.
Should we really be surprised that U-M and its friends in the media and law enforcement are such blatantly shameless hypocrites? Of course not.
But I've got to admit I'm impressed with the total commitment to this moral superiority act they've been peddling for the last month-plus since Tunnelgate (or, really, forever), all while covering up the itsy-bitsy matter of one of their team captains being arrested and charged with a felony gun offense.
Can you imagine how this would have played out if Michigan State had done the same? If it came out that Mel Tucker played a Spartan captain literally the day after a felony gun incident then continued playing him for the remainder of the regular season, the Detroit media would be recreating the scene from Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" when a belligerent horde of people with torches and pitchforks went full-blown vigilante justice.
Can you imagine what would happen if the Ingham County prosecutor turned out to be an MSU alum, an avowed Spartan fan, an employee of the university, and such an enthusiastic and dogged supporter of the team, including the offending player in this matter, that this prosecutor is heavily rumored to be a frequent contributor to a popular fan-run message board about MSU? Then imagine if that very same prosecutor, who is the most powerful local law enforcement official, didn't formally authorize the charges until MSU's regular-season campaign had just so happened to have concluded eight weeks later?
Do you honestly think any of it would play out that way if it had been MSU in this situation? Of course it wouldn't.
And do you think the media would have sat on this story for two months if it had involved Michigan State, allowing the Spartans to complete their regular season without the specter of this troubling legal matter looming? Why, then, did that happen here? You can bet your ass that the reporters and columnists who
constantly cater to cover Michigan have known about Smith's incident since it happened.
What kind of questions do you think the Detroit media would ask Tucker and MSU AD Alan Haller once the incident went public? Do you think those questions would be as soft and punchless as the ones the Detroit media is about to perfunctorily ask of Jim Harbaugh and Warde Manuel?
We all know all of these answers. Columnists would bury MSU and everyone even tangentially associated with the incident, categorically and summarily, calling for harsh consequences, both legal and from the NCAA.
But that won't happen here, because U-M is at the center of this story. We also know this because we've watched the Detroit media do Michigan's PR bidding in carrying out its character assassination campaign against Michigan State pro bono for the last two months.
We also know what will happen here because the columnists who are about to minimize Smith's felony charge and its obvious cover-up are the same ones who have spent years writing grandiose, melancholic "think pieces" about MSU and its "cultural issues" while practically sitting out the worst sex-abuse scandal in sports history that transpired over the course of several decades right on U-M's campus.