Ann Arbor – Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he has spoken to dismissed senior defensive end Frank Clark but will not share the details of the conversation.
Hoke announced Monday Clark was kicked off the team. Clark was charged with domestic violence and assault in Sandusky, Ohio, following a violent incident with his girlfriend Saturday night at a hotel. Hoke was informed of the incident early Sunday.
"I'm going to support Frank, but that conversation is Frank and I," Hoke said Wednesday during a weekly news conference after confirming they have spoken since Clark posted bail Monday.
Hoke spoke passionately this week about his zero tolerance regarding domestic abuse and said he addressed his players on the subject several times each year. With several reported domestic violence crimes connected to NFL players, this has become a national hot-button issue.
According to the Perkins Township police report, Clark's girlfriend, Diamond Hurt, said he punched her in the face during an altercation in the Maui Sands Resort in Sandusky. Hurt, according to the police report, had a welt on her face and marks on her neck. Clark, his nose bleeding, told police he didn't touch her. Hurt did not want to press charges.
Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison on Monday said he plans to talk to Clark.
"You never give up on your guys," Mattison said Monday. "You don't ever condone. You don't ever, ever. From Day 1 in our meetings, coach Hoke does a tremendous job of explaining what is never tolerated. He does that all the time with our players. If you looked at football teams over the country, I mean, wow, ours compared to that is pretty darn good.
"They're young kids. They're kids who make mistakes. I wish I could say I never made a mistake. I can't say that. So do I condone it? Never been more disappointed. But am I always there for them? Yeah, we always are. That's the way we always will be."
Senior punter Will Hagerup said Tuesday night after practice that he supported Hoke's decision regarding Clark.
"It's a privilege to play here," Hagerup said. "There are rules when you play here that you follow and there's conduct you follow, and when you don't follow it there's consequences. In this case, coach Hoke has made it incredibly clear, which I hope any head coach would, that there are certain rules that if broken, that's it.
"It is fragile the opportunity have here, and there are lots of ways to screw up the opportunity and obviously I've had my issues and I hope Frank can turn things around and make improvements in his life. But I support coach Hoke's decision and what he did, and don't support the actions that took place at all. I'm glad we don't tolerate violence against women at this school."