LJ Scott’s playing status before Michigan State’s game against Indiana was thrown into question when he was arrested for driving with a suspended license on Wednesday, but Mark Dantonio announced Friday that Scott still would play.
Michigan State’s coach explained further after his team’s win Saturday night:
“Young people are going to make mistakes,” Dantonio told reporters. “I guess the biggest way to say it is young people are going to make mistakes. But they’re my young people. And it’s like my family. So you’re going to try to take care of those guys. You’re going to try and usher them forward and try and help them resolve their issues as best you can.”
Dantonio sat Scott for his team’s first series but played him after that.
“We’re just trying to complete the circle for our players,” the coach said. “I know publicly it’s tough to look at sometimes, but they’re our players. They’re my players. I have a personal relationship with those guys and their mothers and their families. Sometimes you have to make gut calls and look at it in that capacity, and that’s what I did. He paid in public ridicule, certainly. And he paid financially, certainly. And he paid a little bit in terms of on the field.”
Scott did not go into specifics about the incident, reportedly the seventh time he has had a similar charge.
A reporter asked Scott after the game if he felt people had misunderstood his situation:
“It could be that,” Scott said, “or a lot of people just didn’t know what happened and thought they knew what happened.
“It was just communications between me and the secretary of state. I’m just glad to have it cleared up and make sure nothing like that happens again.”
Scott had 87 yards on 22 carries in Michigan State’s 17-9 win.
Dantonio did not go into specifics about the arrest, but his explanation centered on his relationship with his players.
“Ultimately, sometimes you’re put in situations where you have to make very tough decisions,” he said. “However, this was not one of them. It felt like he got a speeding ticket, and everything else was sort of in order. There was extenuating circumstances as to a fine being paid, etc. But it’s a long story. If you want 15-20 minutes, that’s what you’d get. Very long story. I watched him parallel park. It’s not like we weren’t on it. I watched him parallel park. All that kind of stuff.”