EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan State softball coach Jacquie Joseph was cleared recently of all charges levied against her by a former player that the coach and her assistant coach Jessica Bograkos conspired to intentionally hit that player in batting practice with intent to injure.
The story was front page headlines in the Detroit News. It prompted a police and a Michigan State University investigation.
Police cleared Joseph and Bograkos of any wrongdoing. And the MSU investigation did the same, implying that the allegations were fabrications.
Witnesses in the Detroit News report were found not credible, but Joseph’s name has clearly been smeared through the mud.
In her first interview since this story came out Jacquie Joseph talked to 6 Sports about her trying summer:
6 Sports: Very basic question….what have the last 6 months been like for you?
Joseph: “Well, trying… I meant they’ve been very trying….it’s been a very difficult time um….it doesn’t make me feel good that so many people have had to come out to defend me….it’s a different world for me….usually I’m defending them. It’s been awesome to see the outpouring of support from kids that you know played for me in my early years at Bowling Green all the way to my early years here….for me it’s been a little bit uncomfortable but uh….it’s been difficult as well.”
6 Sports: It’s been more than a little uncomfortable hasn’t it?
Joseph: “Yea….yea… I think that anytime your….your integrity has come into question when you’ve stood your whole life on nothing but integrity….um you know that’s….that’s hurtful…no question.”
6 Sports: You’re cleared…but is the stain removed?
Joseph: “I don’t know….that’s a good question. I mean I think all of the people that have ever met me for even more than a minute—knew it wasn’t true. I knew that I would be exonerated….the question would be just how long and how painful it would be….is the stain ever gone? I don’t know….you know the media now is different….google is now google….and it’s just a shame I think that after 30 years of doing everything right….when you google my name—-you….you see that.”
6 Sports: Did you ever think of quitting?
Joseph: “Yes….yes and and uh… I had such… I was buoyed by the support that I got….and I also felt so strongly that all of the values that I teach the kids….and I role model for my own daughter…and I preach you know—keep moving. Life is tough you know…every day the kids hear me say some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield….and I was the bug this summer…and so you have to learn to just keep moving.”
Assistant coach Jessica Bograkos respectfully declined to be interviewed for this story, saying she has worked hard to get past the pain and move on and she wants to continue to move on.