Monday, January 29, 2018

The Pride Comes Before the Fall

That was the famous line that Mark Dantonio said after Mike Hart dropped the "little brother" label on the Spartans Football team.

That one "label" has motivated Mark and his program ever since and the Spartans have played some good football over a 5 year period or more.    Mark had one of his best coaching performances this past season as MSU was expected to be a dumpster fire and played Top 25 football all year.  

Then ESPN rolled out it's 3 year investigation into both Dantonio's and Izzo's program.  When I first heard of it this week, I figured it was about Larry Nassar and his crimes.  It wasn't, the story was about the years of sexual abuse by Spartan Football and Basketball players.

MSU's President and AD have already resigned due to this report and the Nassar trial.  The question now remains is Izzo and Dantonio next?

Both coaches had different but similar reactions to the ESPN story.   Both men have been clearly prepped by legal not to discuss details in a press conferences.  Their body language is where they are different.  Izzo looks like a beaten man who is clearly showing the stress of the situation and a potential loss of employment.  Dantonio like I imagine a lot of things in his life, took a stiff upper lip and denied any wrong doing.  One man looked like he understood the severity of the situation, the other looked a bit "tone deaf".

Both coaches are the best MSU has ever had in role.  Izzo is a basketball coaching legend and Dantonio has won in a place that Nick Saban couldn't.  To fire them both would be a huge decision that the leadership in East Lansing will have to make.   Neither coach wants to retire but history is not on their side.   Whether you look at Penn State or Baylor, cleaning house is almost mandatory when  changing a toxic environment.  

But did they know?  Or did they conspire to hide the information, so their players could play?  It really doesn't matter, because they should have known.  That is what it means to be a leader.  A CEO whose company that had a massive data breech that cost share holders millions, has to step down.  Not because he/she is a cyber security expert or could have predicted such a bad event.  It's because it happened on their watch and the captain goes down with the ship. 

Is it possible that both men make it through this?  It's possible as these guys are legends in East Lansing.   On the other hand, so were Joe Paterno and Art Briles. 

I actually feel bad writing this story, because if these two guys keep their high paying jobs is no where near as important as what happened to those women and their families.   MSU needs to do the right thing and change their culture and do what they can for the victims. 

As Michigan fans we sometimes struggle with Harbaugh and Beilein not winning enough.   We might want to ask another question, are these man coaching with honesty and respect that the students of the University of Michigan deserve?  We see this situation at MSU and Michigan Basketball losing a National Championship to a Louisville, a team that probably will lose that title due to all their issues. 

If the answer is yes to the above question, then maybe doing things with respect and honor is as or more important then wins and loses. 


Scott K said...

Well stated Bob.... The Gibbon's situation wasn't good and clearly needed to be handled differently. That being said, it appears to be a one off incident this situation at MSU will end up being far reaching. The interview with the lady who served as a Rape counselor at MSU was disturbing, what has begun to seep out is likely the tip of this iceburg.

Bob said...

Agreed Scott, I also agree with you on Gibbon's. That was under Hoke's time and was not handled well at all.

EzmoB said...

Bob the reporter on espn said, MSU officials went out of their way to shield or cover the coaches from this investigation. There has to be evidence that izzo and Mark knew about these sexual harassment issues. How could you not??? Even magic Johnson make out and said people have to be fired. As Scott said this is just the tip and so much more will be revealed as time goes on. MSU should learn from PSU mistakes and make the right decision and do right by the victims. They need to change the culture.

Voice of Reason said...

Bob, excellent post by you. As a Michigan alum parts of me do not care about what happens to MSU or PSU, and so forth but however, in all good consciousness because of our institutional integrity it seems fitting that we do not "pile on" these other institutions if for no other reason than because we don't know what's going on under Michigan's skit. Are we protecting our own students? I hope so.

I only hope that we ourselves are not sacrificing institutional integrity by compromising the health, education and welfare of any of our own students. If we are the leaders and best, then it starts by setting and being the highest standards in doing everything the right way.

Winning as important as it is, should not be at the expense of harming those whom we love the most...our kids. The axiomatic truth is "what you compromise to keep you will lose." Hopefully, we do not rejoice in the mishaps of our sister institutions but rather we are learning from their mistakes and protecting our own children. IMHO!!!

Voice of Reason said...

It also goes without saying (but I will anyway) that my heart goes out to the victims of any sexual harassment, abuse or inappropriate behavior of any kind, whether they are students of any institution or our own. As a parent, I am aware of how it feels when you learn that your child was harmed by the one you've trusted to protect and care for them while in their care. Institutions should bend over backwards to protect their students from predators and predatory practices. Our students must be our priority. IMHO!!!