HOOVER, Ala. — Richie Brown still has not seen the video of Mississippi State teammate Jeffery Simmons repeatedly punching a woman earlier this year.
What he has seen: An apologetic freshman who’s trying to atone for his viral assault.
“Jeffery has been working really, really hard,” Brown said Tuesday during an SEC Media Days interview session. “He’s been doing a lot of treatment, counseling and all kinds of stuff. He’s been a great teammate.”
Those were the buzzphrases when Brown, a senior linebacker on the Butkus Award watch list, discussed Simmons: hard worker, great teammate.
Brown said Mississippi State holds weekly meetings that emphasize the team’s “core values,” one of which is respect for the opposite sex. There’s even a sign in the Bulldogs locker room reminding players to “respect women.”
When the university allowed Simmons to enroll post-video — suspending him for one game in the process — it ignited a firestorm that focused on MSU’s apparently hypocritical decision-making process.
Brown has not “personally looked into” the details of Simmons’ punching incident, though he said Simmons “handled it really well.”
“He realizes what he did,” Brown said. “You can tell being around him that he’s very apologetic. He’s working hard to prove people wrong.”
Minutes earlier, coach Dan Mullen sidestepped blame for allowing Simmons on board, saying “I wasn’t involved as much. It was a university decision. But I was just thrilled that we’re having Jeffery as part of our family coming in.”
For his part, Brown doesn’t foresee any problems ahead.
“He’ll take care of his business,” Brown said, “and it’ll go well.”