It took a moment to recognize what Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo was trying to say, was willing to say, when he met with reporters following Friday night's perfunctory Big Ten basketball game against Wisconsin.
At first there was a gentle threat that he would be speaking only about the game following a short statement conveying little that was new — and nothing at all about the departures of university president Lou Anna K. Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis from their positions following the sentencing of Larry Nassar, a sports physician who sexually assaulted scores of girls and young women, in particular female Olympic gymnasts, while employed at a university clinic.
Izzo was drawn into the hurricane of negative publicity that tore across the MSU campus this month in part because he had defended Simon last Friday with some contradictory language that at first acknowledged “Nassar permanently damaged and changed the lives of so many of those people” and then reversed to, "I hope the right person was convicted.” The latter part drew more attention, and led to him issuing an apology and clarification that acknowledged Nassar “deserves all the punishment he receives.”
More so, however, Izzo became an issue because of an ESPN report that detailed concerns about how Michigan State handled sexual assault and similar cases on campus, particularly by athletes.
"I hope that I'm a big part of the healing process for them," Izzo said, again affirming his obviously strong belief his career at Michigan State will continue well into the future.
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