Michigan State Player’s Dad Was Busted For Dealing Drugs. Now He Cheers From Prison

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Written by Ann Brown
Michigan
Michigan State linebacker Antjuan Simmons (34) reacts after a play during the first half of an NCAA football game against Tulsa on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 28-7. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Michigan State starting linebacker Antjuan Simmons found out a secret about his father a few years ago. And it changed his family’s life. Simmons’ father, Antonio, was arrested and convicted on major drug dealing charges.

Antonio turned out to have been living a double life. On one hand, he was a family man, a supportive father. On the other hand, he was, as prosecutors put it, one of the biggest drug dealers in Detroit. He is now serving his sentence at the Ashland Federal Correctional Institution, a low-security prison in Kentucky. He has served seven years.

Father and son talk on the phone, though Antjuan hasn’t seen his father in person in three years.

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“He is so much better than me, as a person, as a man, as an athlete,” Antonio told the Free Press in a telephone call from prison. “I’m just very, very proud of him.”

Antonio pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs. “He was caught in a far-reaching DEA investigation that stretched from Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel to the infamous courier, then 90-year-old Leo Sharp, who inspired the movie ‘The Mule,’ starring Clint Eastwood. The organization pumped millions of dollars’ worth of drugs into Detroit from 2008 to 2011,” USA Today reported.

“Don’t follow in my footsteps because this is where you will end up,” Antonio said. “I try to make sure I talk to him about the hangin’ out on the weekends. The parties. What he needs to stay away from. The pitfalls I see other kids get into…He has too much to lose to mess it up on something like that.”

Antjuan seems to be on his own path. He is currently a junior at Michigan State, majoring in human development and family studies. “I want to work with kids,” he said. “I want to teach them to be strong and to be resilient.”