‘Hail to the Victims:’ Attorney Claims Michigan Player Was First To Swing Helmet, Throw Punch In Tunnel Fight With MSU
An attorney retained by one of the eight Michigan State football players suspended following the tunnel fight after the MSU at Michigan game on Oct. 29 alleges U-M incited the incident with physical violence.
David D. Diamond, a Los Angeles-based criminal-defense attorney and MSU alumnus, made those claims Tuesday in a press release announcing he was contracted to represent one of the suspended Spartans.
“The media has taken the bait from a coach and master victim and his howls at the moon," Diamond said in a statement, referring to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who characterized the "Tunnelgate" incident as a 10-on-one premeditated jumping and called for MSU players to be criminally prosecuted.
"We have learned that the UM player started the altercation," Diamond's statement continues. "Eyewitnesses have described it as charging with his helmet and throwing a punch. The justice system is designed for impartiality. The repeated 'hail to the victims' song and dance does not contribute to the fact-finding mission."
Eight MSU players have been indefinitely suspended in the aftermath of the tunnel fight. Among them are defensive starters Jacoby Windmon, Angelo Grose, Zion Young, and Brandon Wright.
Diamond did not disclose which of the suspended MSU players has retained his services.
"While we acknowledge wrongdoing by all parties, this is not an incident that warrants criminal charges being filed," Diamond said. "We have seen similar behavior and even worse on the gridiron and suddenly because it happens in a tunnel, known for incompetent security and poor post-game management, there are calls for criminal charges. My client is a young man who responded to the situation before him.”
Diamond also corroborated the account of MSU tight end Maliq Carr's mother, who said that a relative of a U-M football player jumped through security and confronted Carr as the Spartans were boarding their team buses after the game.
The attorney continued to acknowledge that a relative of a Michigan player jumped over
and through security to approach and confront an MSU player (Carr).
Confrontations had become increasingly regular in the Michigan Stadium tunnel leading up to the Spartans' and Wolverines' game this season. Last year, Michigan and Ohio State players had to be separated in the tunnel. A similar incident occurred two weeks before MSU and Michigan played when Penn State and U-M players had to be separated. That led to Penn State coach James Franklin calling for changes to how Michigan handles its tunnel.
The tunnel fight following the Spartans' and Wolverines' rivalry game represented the third incident between U-M and a visiting team in four Big Ten games played at the Big House.
Diamond chastised U-M for what he characterized as dishonest victimhood.
"Where were the screams from Ann Arbor to criminally charge Coach [Juwan] Howard with assault or Devon Bush with felony vandalism," he said. "The silence was palpitating. The hypocrisy is painful."
Diamond also called out Michigan for its handling of security in the Big House tunnel.
"Why were the UM players allowed in the tunnel and rather than criticize an MSU employee for not engaging with 6 foot 6-inch giants, we must ask ourselves about the Michigan security in the tunnel," he said. "I personally know about the moral superiority claims as I was a student at MSU in 1995 when my then-girlfriend had a large cup of phlegm and saliva tossed at her by a UM basketball player. Despite calls and letters, UM did absolutely nothing.
"Given the history of this rivalry and the recent disregarded motto of winning with class, this case does not warrant a criminal filing."
See Diamond's full press release here: