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December 22, 2008

Winston still on team, White not

That's according to the latest official team roster, released today by MSU. Winston, you'll remember, did not dress for the Michigan, Wisconsin or Purdue games before returning for the Penn State game. That was apparently a suspension -- not that anyone at MSU would actually tell us that.

   Mitchell White was a walk-on receiver. His identical twin, Myles White, the one with a scholarship, is still on the team. As mentioned earlier, Winston is facing up to a year in jail on his three counts of misdemeanor aggravated assault, while White is facing up to 93 days in jail. But in many cases like this, the end result is probation and a fine.
    Here is the statement released today by MSU athletic director Mark Hollis, which is the full extent at this point of MSU's comment on this situation:
    "Michigan State University provides a positive environment for students to learn and engage in new experiences. Along with this opportunity, come the expectations that individuals will act appropriately and make positive contributions to our campus and community. Those individuals who stray from this responsibility are held accountable on several levels for those detrimental actions.
    "While I am displeased with the circumstances and actions that led to these charges, I respect the integrity and approach of our coaching staffs, East Lansing Police Department, and Prosecutor’s office in their response to the situation. Most importantly, my thoughts continue to be with A.J. Sturges, a respected student-athlete on our ice hockey team.
    "The particular circumstances aside, no member of the University community should experience this kind of injury. We have trust in the justice system and we look forward to A.J.’s recovery."

   

Also tonight, I received a press release from Sturges' lawyer, Steve Hurley. Here it is in its entirety.
    "On Behalf of the AJ Sturges family, we would like to express our relief that charges have
brought against his assailants.
    On the Night of October 19, 2008, AJ Sturges returned home from dinner with his father
and brother, Dan. He was in his bedroom when a number of intruders entered his home.
    AJ went downstairs and attempted to reason with the intruders. As he was talking to two
of the intruders, a third intruder struck AJ from behind, knocking him unconscious.
    There were multiple witnesses to this act.
    For the record, at no time during the evening was AJ Sturges involved in any fights with
fellow Michigan State athletes or other parties.
    He was transported by ambulance to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured
skull and intra cranial bleeding. AJ was released from the hospital after two days with a
further diagnosis of severe brain trauma.
    Due to the injury inflicted and its side affects, AJ, a 3.6 student, was forced to withdraw
from several classes. His season as a MSU hockey player was ended. AJ continues to
struggle with the long-term affects of his injury although his prognosis is good. We hope
that he will be able to return to his roll as a full-time Michigan State student and as a
member of the Spartan hockey team.
    We hope that justice will be done, but also know that only time can help our son heal.
We would also like to express our disappointment that fellow members of the Michigan
State academic and athletic community could perpetrate such an act on a fellow student
and athlete.
    We are hopeful that Michigan State Athletic Department will take a hard look at how this
happened and, more importantly, what internal process transpired after it occurred. It
would be unfortunate if a great athletic program and university found itself dodging the
tough questions and concealing the difficult issues that arose from this incident."

    From here, Winston and White will be arraigned, court dates will be set and plea bargains may be reached. A full police report on the incident will be released after the legal outcome is reached.
    MSU heads to Florida on Thursday and Mark Dantonio likely will speak to the media next on Friday. One other revelation from today's roster: Freshman safety Charles Burrell is not on it. No word yet from MSU on why he's apparently not a member of the team anymore.


   

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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