What Larry Nassar did to many former gymnasts over the years, both as the team physician for USA Gymnasts and while practicing sports medicine at Michigan State University is absolutely sickening. His actions have changed the lives of many and for that, he will spend a very long time in prison.
That’s why many were baffled and primarily upset by what MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo had to say on Friday night, following a win over the Indiana Hoosiers. When asked about the Nassar hearings and about his support for university President Lou Anna Simon, Izzo said some things that would soon come back to haunt him.
“I hope that the right person was convicted and I have to say, though, that I have the utmost — the utmost faith and respect — for the leadership of our president, too, at Michigan State. It’s a woman who dedicated over 40 years and I’ve been here 33 with her and I think I know what she stands for. So, I hope and pray that those survivors continue to grow in their life, I hope we do everything we can to make sure that this will never happen ever again, not only at this institution but any institution, to be honest with you. But it’s been a lot of sad days for me in a lot of ways and I’m gonna try to do everything I can to help the survivors and help us grow from this and learn from it and move forward.”
Those comments by Izzo quickly caught the attention of Lynn Raisman, the mother of former Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, Aly Raisman. Aly’s mother took to Twitter on Saturday and to say she was a bit upset with Izzo’s comments would be an understatement.
“Dear Tom Izzo, I’m sorry it’s been a difficult week for you,” Lynn Raisman tweeted on Saturday. “Did you hear, Larry Nassar also said it was difficult. Since you ‘hope the right person was convicted’ I wonder if you are a complete and total MORON or just a LIAR when you claim you listened to the impact statements.”
Dear Tom Izzo,
I'm sorry it's been a difficult week for you. Did you hear, Larry Nassar also said it was difficult. Since you "hope the right person was convicted" I wonder if you are a complete and total MORON or just a LIAR when you claim you listened to the impact statements. https://t.co/CIdiTPtXa1
— Lynn Raisman (@LynnRaisman) January 20, 2018
On Sunday, Izzo admitted in a statement to using the “wrong words” when talking about the Nassar situation.
“On Friday night in my postgame press conference, I used the wrong words when trying to express my belief that Larry Nassar and anyone else who broke the law should be held accountable for their crimes,” Izzo said in a statement. “My overall message was, and remains, that I have tremendous admiration for the courage the survivors have shown, and that Larry Nassar has permanently damaged the lives of so many people and deserves all the punishment that he receives.”
Though many Michigan State alumni, current students, and former gymnasts have called for Lou Anna Simon to be removed as President of the university, the MSU Board of Trustees had a meeting and have decided that she is still the right person for the job.
“We continue to believe President Simon is the right leader for the university, and she has our support,” Chairman Brian Breslin said in a prepared statement.