Izzo Clarifies Nassar Comments: ‘I Used The Wrong Words’
Tom Izzo issued a clarification on Sunday for his comments regarding Larry Nassar and the current leadership at Michigan State University.
Izzo's original comments came after his team defeated Indiana 85-57 on Friday.
When asked about the Board of Trustees decision on a letter of support for President Simon in the wake of Larry Nassar's sentencing in Ingham County, Izzo said:
"It’s been a very difficult week for me. As a father, it’s been a difficult week. I listened to the stories of courageous women. I look at the survivors who spoke and, in all honesty, Nassar permanently damaged and changed the lives of so many of those people. I feel like it’s changed the life of all of us at Michigan State in some way, shape or form. As a father, that’s difficult to even fathom. I hope the right person was convicted."
“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. That’s a woman who has 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 there has been a lot of sad days for me in a lot of ways. I’m gonna to try do to everything I can to help the survivors and to help us grow from this and learn from it and move forward. That’s all I have to say.”
Izzo was asked a follow-up question regarding a change in leadership at the school, he said:
“You know, when I talk to you guys about basketball, it’s really easy. I really don’t give a damn if you agree with me or not. But I mean, you have to understand there is nothing I can say that is gonna be right right now, and there is nothing that’s gonna make anybody right. I’ll just stick by what I said. The survivors are the most courageous people — I can’t even imagine. I hate when I’m put in a position when I can almost start saying, ‘I know what you’re going through,’ because I have no clue what they’re going through and never will, and I hope I never find out."
“But I also, I just gotta say that that is a situation that I think is being dealt with and has been dealt with. And there is no way I could waver on the support for my administration or my president knowing the 35 years I have spent here on what she has done for this university, what she has stood for – not only athletics, that’s a small part. For women’s groups, for different groups, I think she’s been a champion."
“I hope and pray that the survivors get through this. But I also hope that we take a serious look at what we’re doing.”
Izzo received criticism online from, among others, Lynn Raisman the mother of Olympic gold medalist and Nassar victim Aly Raisman.
Izzo's clarification came on Sunday and reads as follows:
“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 his 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.”
Nassar's sentencing is continuing on Monday with more victim-impact statements and it is expected to conclude early this week.