Yesterday, during Michigan State’s first game in the NCAA March Madness tournament, the passionate basketball coach Tom Izzo, got into the face of freshman player Aaron Henry.
Here’s a clip of the exchange:
Do YOU have an issue with this?
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 22, 2019
The “optics” of a coach yelling at one of his players was more than the wussified media could handle, as news sources like Yahoo Sports started their coverage of the event by unleashing on the iconic coach:
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Tom Izzo has been screaming at his players for nearly a quarter century now, and that’s just as the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans (he was no less fiery as an assistant). He grows into a ball of rage on the sideline. He stomps his feet. He gets into their faces.
Well, maybe it was new to some of the national television audience. This being the NCAA tournament, Izzo’s outburst drew far more attention than a similar deal on some February night in the Big Ten. Clips were all over social media. Content was aggregated. The postgame news conference featured multiple questions about it, including asking Izzo what it was that Henry did that him so angry.
“You think there was one thing that would make me that angry, you don’t know me very well,” Izzo said. “There was a bunch of things, you know, and, hey, he’s playing a lot of minutes, too. He’s tired, too. When you are a freshman now at this time of year, you don’t make mental mistakes on things we’re telling a guy which way he goes or not running back.
“There are some things Aaron didn’t do a very good job of and yet, you know what? I did get after him and he did respond and he did make a couple of big buckets and he did make a couple of big free throws, but that’s not good enough. This is one-and-done time. The ‘my-bads’ are out the window. If it’s my fault because that guy played better and it’s my bad because I walked back and didn’t sprint back, then it is your bad and you’re going to hear about it.”
Fox News’ Cris Carter, an NFL Hall of Famer, took a much different approach in his discussion about the controversy surrounding Coach Izzo’s coaching style, and he didn’t’ waste any time defending the MSU’s basketball coach.
I’m old school as far as the coaching, and what a coach can bring to a young person. This is something as far as college too, bcaue a lot of times, the optics, they don’t look good.
It boils down to a few things. Coach Izzo made a promise to that kid and his parents, and last night when he was yelling at the kid, I was wondering, if the kid’s parents were at the game, how would the kid’s parents feel? And you know something? The kid’s parents would be like, that’s what we signed up for. When he sat in our living room he told us, ‘I’m gonna promise you, ‘I’m going be on your son, I’m gonna grow him from a young boy into being a real man and I’m gonna get him his college degree.’
Those are the things Coach Izzo promises kids and their family. And that what Aaron got last night.
You don’t wanna rebound? You don’t wanna run back on defense? You gonna get chewed out by the coach.
And I believe that this coaching will always be effective. I talked to Coach Izzo last night. We went over this—the things he was saying, why he was disappointed, and he just believes that in society, people are just getting soft—they don’t wanna be pushed, they don’t wanna be driven. And there’s a certain standard in every business. And in his business, he set the standard. He is one of the icons that we have coaching.
And if I had a kid who played basketball he could play for Coach Izzo.
"Coach Izzo made a promise to that kid and his parents. When he sat in their living room he told them, 'I'm going to be on your son and grow him from a boy into a young man.' That's what Aaron Henry got last night. This coaching will always be effective." — @criscarter80 pic.twitter.com/gvrxreTrL3
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) March 22, 2019
Coach Izzo has always been loved and adored by his players. In the video below, MSU basketball player Xavier Tillman defends Izzo’s reaction to Aaron Henry and explains how his outburst “actually helps the team regroup and refocus.”
If you watched the Michigan State (@MSU_Basketball) game, you saw a visibly angry Tom Izzo going after his guys. Xavier Tillman (@Rookiedunker) explains how that actually helps the team regroup and refocus. #MichiganState pic.twitter.com/lHx5vjD98c
— Jonathan Deutsch (@JonathanD_TV) March 21, 2019
Coach Izzo pulled out a bit of his inner Trump and lambasted the journalists who were questioning his coaching style, and for not understanding what it means to be accountable for the job you’re hired to do.
Izzo told the reporters, “I get a kick out of you people. I don’t know what kind of business you’re in, but I tell ya what, if I was a head of a newspaper, and you didn’t do your job, you’d be held accountable.”
Tom Izzo was asked about getting after Aaron Henry.
"I don't know what kind of business you're in, but I tell ya what, if I was a head of a newspaper, and you didn't do your job, you'd be held accountable." pic.twitter.com/kqcWykUY6X
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) March 21, 2019
What do you think? Do you agree with Cris Carter and Coach Izzo? Is our society raising marshmallows instead of men? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.