Mitch Lyons Should Resign from Board of Trustees. Right Now.

Mitch Lyons Should Resign from Board of Trustees. Right Now.

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Mitch Lyons Should Resign from Board of Trustees. Right Now.

Former Spartan football player Mitch Lyons has consistently demonstrated that he is not fit to be a part of Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees.

Contact @crowleysullivan

As is always the case in a fracas occurring during the white hot intensity of a middle school girls’ basketball game, the facts of how the fracas started, who was at the heart of the start of the fracas, and who is, ultimately, to be blamed for the fracas are all usually murky.

But how many times do we need to see and hear about the general behavior of Mitch Lyons before we all can see what is perfectly obvious to anyone capable of thinking objectively?

Mitch Lyons has sent out inappropriate tweets with inaccuracies, he’s blabbered on radio shows about Board of Trustees discussions that may or may not have included topics related to Larry Nassar’s twenty year long sexual assault crimes on Michigan State’s campus, and now he’s embroiled in a ridiculous spat stemming from him allegedly shoving and using horrible language with a referee who, according to Lyons, “made bad calls” in a……middle school girls’ basketball game.

Perhaps the game was a big one.

Perhaps the referee did, in fact, “make bad calls.”

And, perhaps, Mitch Lyons didn’t shove the referee all that hard.

Whatever really did happen in the gymnasium and in the parking lot and maybe in the taverns afterwards, Mitch Lyons is now on trial for one misdemeanor count of assault and battery for the alleged shove of that referee.

Lyons may very well end up being exonerated.

The potential exoneration might be justified – or, it might be due to terrific lawyering performed by Lyons’s legal team.

But here’s what’s really at issue when looking at this provincial, ridiculous, embarrassing, and stupid situation Mitch Lyons has, once again, found himself in:

Mitch Lyons must resign from the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.

If the man has any dignity at all, he sees why this is not up for debate.

If the man lacks self-awareness – which is quite probable – then someone close to him needs to encourage him to step away from the post he holds with the Michigan State University Board of Trustees and focus on his regular life as a simple Michigan resident and citizen.

And if that doesn’t work, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees must simply tell Lyons that he’s no longer welcome and that he needs to take his stuff and go away.

Mitch Lyons has probably done a lot of great things in his life.

I’m sure he’s a fine father and husband.

I’m sure that whatever happened at the all-important middle school girls’ basketball game was simply due to the fact that Lyons is a passionate man who dives in head first into whatever he’s committed to.

It was lovely to see his tweet when he announced to the world that he had found his old Blackberry from years gone by – what a wonderful and humorous update he provided us with in that witty tweet.

Etc.

But our university needs to rid the environment of people who are not capable of behaving in the manner that is necessary to lead the school even in the best of times.

I don’t have to tell anyone that Michigan State University is not currently enjoying the best of times.

The school needs the best people possible to work on re-establishing the integrity that has been lost due to the epic failures of leadership that allowed Nassar to treat the university as his own awful playground.

Interim university president, John Engler, has begun to show signs of understanding how the pre-existing infrastructure at Michigan State was disorganized and dysfunctional.

It was the dysfunctional nature of the school’s operational layout that, in part, led to the failures of the Larry Nassar crimes.

Mitch Lyons has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2011.  Hs tenure includes the Nassar mess happening, growing, and not being dealt with properly.

And I don’t care that he played football for Michigan State or that he went on to have a career in the NFL.

So what?

Lyons is not worthy of being a member of our university’s Board of Trustees.

He may very well be worthy of winning awards as a terrific middle school girls’ basketball team and there may be parents of the girls on the team who see him as a great man.  Those parents – and Lyons’s assistant coach – will certainly continue to come Lyons’s defense as he goes through this trial.

But, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees should give Lyons the freedom and the time to focus on his trial by telling him to leave – and to not come back.

MSU trustee assaulted referee after technical fouls led to loss, prosecutor says

Michigan State University Trustee Mitch Lyons is on trial for one misdemeanor count of assault and battery for allegedly shoving a referee during a youth basketball game. The trial began May 4.
Michigan State University Trustee Mitch Lyons is on trial for one misdemeanor count of assault and battery for allegedly shoving a referee during a youth basketball game. The trial began May 4.(WLNS)

JACKSON, MI – Mitch Lyons was furious when he shoved a referee after a series of “bad calls” led to the narrow defeat of his middle school girls’ basketball team five months ago, prosecutors say.

For what allegedly happened, Lyons, a Michigan State University trustee, is now on trial in Jackson County District Court facing one misdemeanor count of assault and battery.

The prosecution and Lyons’ attorney agreed to a bench trail, which began Friday, May 4. District Judge Michael Klaeren will decide the verdict.

The case stems from an incident at a December 2017 middle school girls’ basketball tournament at Grass Lake Middle School.

MSU trustee denies misdemeanor assault allegation, taking case to trial

Lyons was the head coach of a Grand Rapids team facing a Grass Lake team in a championship-deciding game, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steve Idema said.

With less than 60 seconds left on the clock, Lyons’ team was ahead by five points when both he and a player received a series of technical fouls that eventually cost Lyons’ team the game by one point, Idema said.

Furious at the loss, Lyons allegedly shoved and threatened one of the men refereeing the game, Kevin Butters, as he tried to leave.

Butters said he felt two hands shove him from behind as he put on his coat. He turned around and saw Lyons towering over him, visibly upset, he said.

“He called me a short, fat piece of s— and then shoved me again,” Butters said. “I told him not to touch me and then he said he would whoop my a–.”

An event staff member allegedly saw a crowd circling Butters and moved in to get him out of the gym, Butters said.

More upset spectators were waiting outside near the referee’s car, causing fellow referee, Trevor Walker, to call 911, Butters said.

Michigan State Police and Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and questioned Butters, according to police audio played at the trial.

Lyons’ attorney, Brian Lennon, argued it was a referee, not Lyons, who escalated the situation at the tournament.

“He has been coaching for 20 years and has never had a problem,” Lennon said. “This is about a problem referee who wanted to get his revenge.”

Corey Dykstra, Lyons’ assistant coach, testified it was an intense game, but he did not see Lyons lose control or begin yelling at the referees.

“It was frustrating to see the girls lose like that and I don’t think the coach of the other team liked it either,” Dykstra said.

Walker testified he only saw Lyons shove Butters one time from behind and then threaten to beat him up. He didn’t see what happened after that as he saw three men coming at him in a threatening manner and wanted to leave before things escalated, he said.

No injuries were reported during the incident.

Lyons has served as an MSU trustee since 2011 and lives in the Kent County community of Rockford. His trial is scheduled to resume Monday, May 7.

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