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August 13, 2009

Sturges speaks

A.J. Sturges released a statement tonight in response to the release of Glenn Winston. Here it is in full:

"My name is A.J. Sturges and this is my statement regarding my assault, injuries and the reinstatement of Glenn Winston to the Michigan State football team.

In my opinion, the immediate reinstatement of Glenn Winston to the football team reflects very poorly on Michigan State Athletics. This decision has established weak precedent for future athletes involved in violent crimes.

Last October, I was assaulted by Glenn Winston. This was not a fight, or a disagreement. I was in bed in my room and came downstairs after hearing the commotion caused by three cars pulling up filled with screaming and violent people. I was standing in my front yard trying to figure out what was going on when Glenn Winston punched me in the head from the side. I never saw him. I did not have any chance to protect myself at all. Neither did his other victims.

That night, I received a fractured skull, five stitches inside my mouth, and a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. I was not involved in a college fight, as this story is perceived. After having nothing to do with any events that occurred earlier that night, I was attacked in my own house.

As a hockey player, I know what a fight is. What happened that night was not a fight. What happened was a violent crime. Pure and simple.

The injury I suffered took away a lot more from me than a season of hockey. I was unable to participate in any form of physical activity for months. I could not join my teammates on the ice until after the season was finished.

My academics were also compromised. I was forced to drop classes during my recovery due to memory issues and headaches.

I now look at myself as naïve. I believed that the people involved in the assault, and those at MSU charged with handling policy, would do the right thing. They haven’t.

Me and the other victims have not received any form of apology from Glenn Winston. Nothing. He has not acknowledged to us in any way the damage he caused. While this fact remains ignored, I cannot allow myself to believe that his debts have been paid, or even understood. While the victims of his actions still recover from what he did, Winston’s obligations have been deemed fulfilled by the football program and athletic department. I think his immediate reinstatement after a shortened jail sentence in my opinion is the wrong decision by our athletic program.

While I hope what happened to me will never happen again, I am afraid the precedent set by this decision will only enable similar incidents in the future. With no formal athletic standards or means to deal with student athletes convicted of a violent crime, this cycle will continue.

Beyond legal and team issues, there is a simple human obligation of respect and character that still remains unfulfilled. Until that occurs, I question what has been learned.

After all these months since my injury, and listening to many comments from coaches and administrators, I felt it was fair for me to make my own statement.

I am speaking my piece with the hope that all Spartan student athletes, including me and Glenn Winston, can learn something from this and maybe live up a to higher standard than the one set by this incident.

Finally, I would like to thank the Lansing police and district attorney’s office.

I would also like to thank Michigan State University for their support of my recovery throughout this ordeal. The resources provided were essential in me reaching this point and allowing me the hope to play hockey again. For this, I will always be thankful and I will always consider myself a Spartan."

    P.S. AT 11:30 P.M.: Here's MSU's reaction to Sturges' press release, via associate AD John Lewandowski: “Our reaction is, there is no new information provided in the Sturges statement that wasn’t already taken into consideration before the Winston reinstatement,” Lewandowski said. “We’re moving forward and there will be no additional statements on this matter.”




    

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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