Izzo remains quiet on allegations – by talking, he’ll lift the weight off everyone, mostly himself.
Anyone with a brain knows that Tom Izzo had nothing to do with whatever the agent/intermediary/rogue-broker may or may not have done to possibly float $471 to Miles Bridges’s mother so she might have been able to purchase a cashmere boa.
What struck me as important was the way in which Izzo handled the questions he got in the post game press conference after his team clinched the outright Big Ten Championship with a tough, well-earned win over Wisconsin on Sunday.
Take a look and a listen to his conviction, his firm and professional response, his command of the situation, and the confidence with which he addresses the reporters who ask two legitimate questions – he’s asked the questions right around the 3:00 mark of his post game press conference –
That’s the Tom Izzo that Spartans have come to revere and respect.
It begs the question – why has he not shown that same command when asked questions related to the much-discussed ESPN “Outside The Lines” reports about possible issues pertaining to the ways in which sexual assault has been handled within the Michigan State Athletic Department?
When questions have been presented about this whole series of issues at Michigan State that are all a result of the Larry Nassar sexual assault crimes, to those of us who have followed Izzo ever since he started sitting next to Jud about a hundred years ago, he’s looked and sounded like a different person than the one we know.
From the moment this all became the most challenging crisis Michigan State University has ever faced, Coach Izzo has seemed a bit off kilter, without a strong footing beneath him, and unsure of himself.
It’s understandable. The issues are toxic and about as uncomfortable as possible.
But we’ve never seen Izzo this uncomfortable – and that makes some of us uncomfortable.
He and Mark Dantonio are two very different people. But, it’s only natural to compare the two leaders. On the very day that the Outside The Lines report was published, Mark Dantonio stood up in front of the entire college sports world and denounced the report, denying any and all wrongdoing, and flatly stating that the Outside The Lines allegations against him were false.
Meanwhile, all of us have watched and listened to Tom Izzo struggle a bit when faced with the questions that remain unaddressed in terms of his program’s handling of sexual assault. I don’t think it’s a criticism to suggest that he’s struggled in these situations when facing the media. It’s a very challenging scenario. But, the thing that is sort of hard to ignore is that he’s rarely – if ever – “struggled” to address issues all throughout his career. And this is more important than anything else he’s faced.
So, here’s a well-intentioned request to Tom Izzo as he prepares to make a run at his second national title and give all Spartans something to rally around once again, something to feel good about once again, and something to remind us all that our Spartan Pride is alive and well despite all of the very real challenges that must be dealt with:
Just go out to the podium and talk to us.
Get your thoughts together and honestly address what is starting to feel like an albatross around not just your neck but all of our necks.
Get it out of the way so that you and your players can focus on giving you the chance to cut down that final net on Monday night in San Antonio.
Don’t be mealy-mouthed. That’s not who you are.
Face this head on in the way you’ve faced everything in your life head on.
You have more support from the Spartan Nation than you probably think.
And if you get it all off your chest and out in the open, the sense here is that everyone will let out a gigantic sigh of relief and everyone – you, chiefly – can move on and the fun can return to your pursuit of another national title.
The longer you go without addressing all of this “stuff,” the harder it gets for everyone.
If you’ve addressed and handled sexual assault issues within your program in “the right ways,” then all you really need to do is stand up there and talk to us.
I’ll go a step further – you’ll be able to talk with us.