After the Tennessee Titans picked Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons at the NFL Draft in Nashville Thursday night, fans criticized ESPN for showing footage of Simmons in an altercation with a woman.
Back in 2016, before he enrolled at Mississippi State, the 21-year-old Simmons was seen on video in a fight with his mother and another woman. The video showed Simmons striking the woman several times before walking away. He was later found guilty of malicious mischief, but pleaded no contest to simple assault. Simmons paid fines and restitution for the woman's medical bills.
Despite the controversial past, Titans executives defended their decision. Titans general manager Jon Robinson said they talked with several people who supported Simmons.
"I'll say this: Since Amy (Adams Strunk) has been the controlling owner here and since I've been the general manager here, we haven't brought in bad people to this organization," Robinson told The Tennessean. "Jeffery made a mistake. We talked extensively about that with him. We talked extensively about that with numerous, countless people that have been a part of his life. He's very regretful. It's something that he'll live with forever. But I can't tell you how many people spoke glowingly about him and his time there at Mississippi State."
Simmons told reporters he is "not perfect" and "owned up" to the mistake.
"I own up to the incident, I owned up to striking a woman," Simmons said. "I wasn't raised like that and I grew from that a lot. It was one of those things where I – I have a son myself. I don't want my son to hit on a woman. I regret it sure enough. I'm just grateful to get this opportunity. Just like a brand new start in life."
While Simmons has tried to move on from the incident, ESPN aired a clip of the altercation in its package about the player. Fans at home were stunned that ESPN did that, calling the movie "classless," "ridiculous" and "flat out strange."
Espn and NFL so worried about protecting their image. This coverage of Jeffery Simmons is flat out strange— LS (@OKAY_its_Sherry) April 26, 2019
Why is @espn showing this video of Jeffrey Simmons? Ridiculous.— Travis Termin (@trvstrmn) April 26, 2019
I said the same thing that video old since like 2016 I didn’t even know what it was about but why show that in that guy’s biggest moment— RedbeansandBryce (@DaK1everOne) April 26, 2019
Simmons was expected to be taken earlier in the draft, were it not for his character concerns and injury history, notes The Spun. In fact, he tore his ACL in training before the draft and will likely miss the entire 2019 NFL season.
"Talking to the doctors there, talking to our trainers and our doctors here about it and feel like he'll be able to make a full recovery," Robinson told The Tennessean.
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