There are few brotherhoods as strong as the ones you find in a college football locker room. When an emergency happens to one of them, it affects all of them almost as deeply.
This season, the Michigan locker room has had to deal with not one, but two of those emergencies, in the span of only a few weeks to boot.
Three weeks ago, the Wolverines rallied around each other after running backs coach Mike Hart suffered a medical emergency on the field against Indiana. On Monday, they were reeling once again after two of their teammates — Gemon Green and Ja’den McBurrows — were violently assaulted by Michigan State players following Saturday’s game.
For Rod Moore especially, seeing the video of what happened cut deep.
“I’m really close with Ja’den, just to see that video of him — I couldn’t keep watching it,” Moore said Monday. “For me, I like defending my brothers and stuff, and I couldn’t be up there to defend him, so it really hurt me. Especially Gemon, all of us being from the same room, it was just like we couldn’t defend him so it made all of us upset.”
Despite how emotional the situation has made him and the rest of the team however, a common refrain between Moore, Blake Corum, and Kris Jenkins on Monday was the need to refocus on the season.
“Obviously, Saturday was a big win, we got Paul back, some stuff happened,” Corum said. “So now it’s just like ‘let’s keep winning.’ We’re on to Rutgers and that’s where our mindset is. That’s why we’re here on this Monday, that’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna watch Rutgers and game plan.
“I would say it’s easier said than done. Obviously it’s always gonna be in the back of your head, like I’m still disappointed, I’m still frustrated just because media is blowing it up so every time I’m on Twitter I see it again. But then it’s business as usual as well. We’re 8-0, we’re on a rampage, we gonna put that behind us.”
“As a team, we know the situation is gonna get handled by the investigation they’re doing,” Jenkins added. “We’re gonna move together forward, move together from it as a team, but it was not a great thing to watch.”
Obviously, this situation is far from being over on pretty much any front. Gemon Green has retained high powered sports lawyer Tom Mars and plans to request that charges be pressed, while investigations from both schools, the Big Ten and local law enforcement are still ongoing.
On the field however, the Michigan locker room knows they have to put it in the rear view mirror. It will be a challenge unlike any they’ve faced, but one that has to be overcome.