Chris L. Rucker admits 'poor decision'
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State defensive back Chris L. Rucker apologized Tuesday night for what he called a "poor decision" after returning last week from a suspension that also included a brief jail term.
Rucker served eight days for a probation violation, then was reinstated to the team. His suspension cost him two games in all. He didn't start for the Spartans on Saturday against Iowa, but he entered the game in the second quarter. Michigan State (No. 14 BCS, No. 16 AP) lost 37-6.
Rucker thanked coach Mark Dantonio on Tuesday for the additional opportunity.
"I just thank him, the coaching staff, and my teammates because without them, I wouldn't be here right now," he said. "I'd just like to apologize to them, the fans and the university because of my poor decision. It was a bad mistake on my part and something I will live with for the rest of my life."
Rucker was suspended indefinitely last month when he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.
Rucker had been sentenced to 12 months of probation and 150 hours of community service for assault less than a year earlier for his role in an on-campus fight.
Dantonio said he had no regrets about bringing Rucker back when he did.
"In terms of the timing of it all, I would have done nothing different," Dantonio said. "I believe that whenever you have a problem you need to get out front as best you can and handle your problem, and I think he did that. That problem was not resolved until Thursday, so I wasn't making any decisions until Thursday."
Rucker missed wins over Illinois and Northwestern last month but was allowed back on the team last Thursday. He is listed as a starter for the 16th-ranked Spartans' Saturday game against Minnesota.
"He failed, and he'll have to live with those consequences, and the public scrutiny of those consequences, for the rest of his life," Dantonio said. "I still have to say to him, 'Look, you didn't do the right thing, but we can fix this for you in terms of coming back into the family. We can help you reshape your life."
Rucker said he wanted to resolve the matter quickly so the team could move on -- and that the first 24 hours after the incident were difficult.
"I was just mad at myself for putting myself in that predicament," he said. "I was embarrassed and it was embarrassing and something that I will live with for the rest of my life."
After bringing Rucker back last week, Dantonio issued a nine-paragraph statement Thursday night explaining his decision. He brought up the issue again at his news conference Tuesday without being asked, then took questions about it.
"I know what my players think about me, and I know what my players' families think about me. That's what has to count in this situation. You look at it as a big family. ... I know it's not a popular decision, probably, for some, but for others it's a very popular decision, and who can say?" Dantonio said.
"I will try to do the best I can for each individual player that's here and their families. I think that's what they signed up for. They didn't sign up to come here and go 11-1. They signed up because they felt I would take care of their sons -- I would try and take their sons and mold them into a productive member in society."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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