Following Michigan basketball guard Daniel Horton’s Wednesday sentence of two years of probation for domestic violence, his attorney is denouncing the University’s decision to suspend Horton for the final games of the season.
Horton’s attorney, Gerald Evelyn heavily criticized the University on Wednesday after Horton was sentenced to 24 months of probation and a year of counseling by Washtenaw County District Judge Ann Mattson.
“The legal system moved along the way it’s supposed to,” Evelyn said. “The University, on the other hand, took the easy way out. For them to be a university and not want to sit down and look at the situation closely and examine it — they haven’t even talked to anybody.”
Michigan Athletic Department spokesman Bruce Madej declined to comment in response to Evelyn’s assertions. But Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said he thinks what Evelyn is saying reflects his desire to look out for what he believes to be in Horton’s best interest.
“(Evelyn) represents Daniel, and I would expect the comments he’s going to make would be all in favor of Daniel Horton,” Amaker said. “And I understand that. That’s why you hire good attorneys, and he’s been a good attorney for Daniel.”
Evelyn said the University should be “ashamed” of how it handled Horton’s situation. Horton has been suspended from the basketball team since Jan. 25 and missed the last 12 games of the season. Evelyn said he believes the University never afforded Horton the right of due process before it made the decision to suspend him.
“They were very formulaic in the way they did things,” Evelyn said. “They suspended him before anything happened. They didn’t do any kind of investigation at all. They didn’t talk to him, me (or) the victim before they made a decision about what should have been done vis-a-vis his suspension.”
While Amaker never stated which University officials contributed to the decision to suspend Horton for the remainder of the season, he indicated Athletic Director Bill Martin was one such official. The exact process through which this decision was made remains unknown.
Evelyn said it was “disrespectful” of the University not to contact Horton until after it decided to suspend him from the basketball team. He added it was Horton who sought initial contact with Martin and that the meeting took place after the University already made its decision.
Evelyn believes the decision to suspend Horton from the basketball team stems from how the Athletic Department has handled past legal situations involving student athletes.
“I felt they would be fair and that they would be individual in how they looked at this, and he wouldn’t be inheriting the baggage of the University’s prior mistakes, involving other people,” Evelyn said. “He got hit with somebody else’s mistakes he had nothing to do with before he came here, and now they are making him pay for it, and I don’t think it was fair.”
Horton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge on Feb. 14.