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Jim Harbaugh has no issue with the fact Mazi Smith played after being arrested.
The Michigan defensive star was arrested in October after allegedly illegally possessing a handgun during a traffic stop. The Athletic reported it was a Glock 19 with multiple magazines. He was arrested at the time but only charged with a felony concealed weapons charge last week. Smith was also in the process of getting a concealed permit and the gun was legally purchased by him, according to MLive.com. He has since gotten his permit to legally conceal a handgun.
Smith never missed any time and will suit up for the Wolverines in the College Football Playoff. As for the decision to play him, Harbaugh knew about the arrest immediately and several administrators signed off on keeping him on the field.
Jim Harbaugh reacts to Mazi Smith’s legal trouble.
“We found out the day that it happened. Mazi was completely honest, up front, cooperative. Felt like he gave us the exact circumstances and then, as I said, this has been something that’s — I really respect the justice system and feel like there will be a fair resolution that comes soon from that,” Harbaugh explained to the press Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
He further added, “As far as the decision to play Mazi Smith, from the time of the incident through now, that’s a decision that’s made by our athletic director Warde Manuel, president Santa Ono and myself, all who know Mazi Smith and know the kind of person he is and the trust he’s built up in our program.”
While some might want to drag Harbaugh for playing Smith, this is the United States of America. You have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and all things considered, it sounds like Mazi Smith’s alleged actions weren’t malicious. He was in the process of getting his permit and the gun was 100% legal. He just wasn’t allowed to conceal it yet.
Harbaugh and other UM officials weighed the evidence in front of them, and clearly decided the situation didn’t merit a suspension.
Michigan plays TCU in the opening round of the CFP December 31 in the Fiesta Bowl.