Mark Dantonio: Decision to add LB back to team after insensitive remark up to 'our African-American players'

Michigan State LB Jon Reschke has 101 career tackles. (Getty)
Michigan State LB Jon Reschke has 101 career tackles. (Getty)

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said his team’s black players would play a significant role in any decision to allow linebacker Jon Reschke to fully rejoin the team.

Reschke said he was transferring in February of 2017 after he admitted to making an insensitive remark towards a former teammate. Dantonio said earlier this spring that his team’s players would play a large part in allowing Reschke back on the team.

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The specific word or words Reschke used had not been revealed previously. And until Tuesday, Dantonio had only spoken in general terms about his team’s players and hadn’t singled out any subgroup or demographic.

According to the Detroit Free-Press, Reschke used profanity and the N-word in a text to a teammate. 

“So I put it to our football team and allowed them to take part, become part of the process, and that’s what it’s been, it’s been a process, and it’s an ongoing process,” Dantonio said about Reschke’s possible addition back to the team.

“Whether it comes to fruition or not remains to be seen. But it’s been a step-by-step process. And I talked to our football team and our players and said: Hey, if you guys want him back, then you have to bring him back. It has to be a decision made by our African-American players, led by them. It has to be — they have to support that.”

Reschke granted sixth-year of eligibility

Reschke wasn’t originally supposed to be eligible to play for Michigan State in 2018. He was set to be a senior in 2017 but suffered a knee injury. in the spring. He stayed at Michigan State and missed the season.

The NCAA granted Reschke a waiver for a sixth year earlier in 2018 because he missed the season. Dantonio said Reschke was currently on the team’s roster but did not have a scholarship. He also added that he believes his team has forgiven the linebacker.

“Our football team has forgiven him, I think. If they haven’t, that’s something we’ll deal with on an ongoing basis,” Dantonio said. “It’s been a step-by-step process. Brought him back, let him be around a bit in summer camp and watch, not summer camp, but our conditioning areas, then we let him partake in that conditioning. We watched to see how he interacted with players that listened to our football team since January, our leadership group, our entire team. Every month I’ve revisited the situation and asked them how do they feel; do they still feel the same; they’ll need to speak up and talk about this issue.”

“And I’m allowing, hopefully allowing, healing to take place among our players and this situation. So I’ll always do the best I can in that endeavor, and we’ll take a step-by-step approach. But these things occurred over a year and a half ago. And he’s not on scholarship, nor will he be on scholarship.”

“And I think that’s a big thing. He paid an ultimate price by being out of football for a year. And he’s lost his scholarship. He’s suffered a knee injury. We’ll see how he comes out of it. And this will be a story to watch maybe as we move forward.”

“But I think it’s a learning opportunity for our football team and it’s an opportunity for growth as people and as a society. So that’s what we’re going to do, and we’re going to see what happens.”

Reschke was injured for most of the 2016 season as well. He has 101 career tackles with the Spartans and we’ll see in the next couple months if he has a chance to add to that tally.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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