With the nightmare at Michigan State now affecting the massive revenue producing sports, it’s up to the fans, alumni and students to handle this the right way. And they can.
Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy
Let this be a moment when the entire world of big-time college athletics takes a massive, positive step forward.
Michigan State fans, alumni, students, and former players and notable superstars like Magic Johnson, Draymond Green, Kirk Cousins, Le’Veon Bell, and on and on, this is your chance to shine.
Spartan Nation, you now have the opportunity to prove to the world that Michigan State University can rise up and be the blueprint for how a community can handle a nightmare of a controversy, culture, and administration, and in the end, come out being even better.
You can help try to fix this. You can make this better. You can be the one positive that comes out of this steaming pile of university administration garbage.
But first, it should absolutely go without saying that the only thing that truly matters here is figuring out any way possible to repair the lives of the victims. This isn’t a sports story. It’s a crime story, and it’s a human story.
Or, put better …
So please, in this sports column by a sports writer on this sports site, forgive how crass it’s going to sound to discuss games, winning, and the feelings of anyone but the victims and survivors. But those actually can play a part in trying to do something positive.
No, winning doesn’t cure anything and sports don’t heal wounds, but like it or not, they can play a big role in trying to salvage a school’s reputation.
Quick … what do you think of when you hear the words Penn State or Baylor?
And why? Those are the front-and-center examples of ways not to handle a massive controversy at a historic level.
With Penn State, that was the ripping away of an identity and belief system of an entire university and community in the most horrific way imaginable. The awful situation was made worse by a group of students and fans who found it easier to not read anything – or claim that they did – scream “Fake News!” and build statues rather than confront reality.
With Baylor – forgive the flippancy here – the general tone from part of the fan base was, “OH MAN … and we JUST got good at football,” to the point of some in the community unforgivably wanting to do anything to keep Art Briles around.
But in both cases, the main players went down, and they went down hard. That’s what’s happening and will happen in East Lansing.
Michigan Staters, how you react will make all of the difference.
You can choose to go the dullard “don’t take away my sports!” route, and go on social media and scream about a lot of this being old news, or blame ESPN for singling out your school, or complaining that the same things happen everywhere, or making it out like the world has it out for Michigan State University.
Beyond that being way wrong, you can’t win any of those arguments and you’re going to make things worse. You’re going to look like an insensitive moron who, by your attitude, is complicit in the problem.
Or, you can choose to realize that you’re Michigan State University, demand a clean slate, denounce everything that happened as absolutely wrong, and scream and yell your outrage that this went on at your school.
Assuming all of these reports by OTL are dead-on right – and there’s absolutely no reason to think otherwise – then Mark Dantonio is out. He has to be. Tom Izzo is out. He has to be.
I know, MSU fans, that these two men made your sports life something special. They gave you Final Fours, and a Rose Bowl, and wins over Michigan, and a national championship, and Big Ten championships, and a trip to the College Football Playoff, but – again, forgive me – to take this down to the most unimportant of elements here …
Spartan fans, realize that your football and basketball programs will eventually be fine.
If Penn State football can go from its near-death experience to Big Ten champion in a snap, it won’t take much to reboot your programs, too.
Start with that. Of course, if you’re any sort of a human being, you’re sickened by all of the reports and stories, but at the same time, you spent a good portion of your life as a Michigan State sports fan. Now it’s time for that “we” part of the experience to kick in as a positive.
Michigan State fans, it’s now on you to go out there and demand better.
Michigan State fans, it’s now on you to denounce EVERYTHING that has reportedly gone on under the school administration and your two revenue producing head coaches.
Michigan State fans, it’s now on you to rise up and shout down those who refuse to read the exhaustive OTL report and watch the program when it comes out.
Michigan State fans, it’s now on you to be that base that’s more outraged by this than anyone else, because this is your school, these are your teams, this is your community.
Michigan State fans, it’s on you to change the narrative here in a positive way. And you can.
Michigan State fans, this is you.
You didn’t make this all happen. It’s not your fault that all these horrible things occurred. But now, show us all that being a Spartan fan is more than just yelling GO GREEN and GO WHITE.
It’s simply a tweet, but at least start with the tone set by your university, and go and do even more.