Tom Izzo releases statement to clarify comments made about Nassar
After facing severe backlash from his comments backing MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon and offering support for the survivors of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse on Friday, Tom Izzo released a statement Sunday to clarify his stance.
The statement was first posted to Twitter by Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press, which read:
"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 the 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."
When asked if Izzo had any comment on the university's Board of Trustees showing unified support for Simon, he said, "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, but I hope the right person was convicted."
Rachel Denhollander, one of the survivors of Nassar's abuse, took to social media and released her own statement criticizing Izzo.
"Until you have at least a modicum of knowledge about this situation, it would be safer to simply acknowledge that you can't be bothered to pay attention to the worst sexual assault scandal in history right on your campus," she said.
Lynn Raisman, the mother of Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who was abused by Nassar, called Izzo "a total MORON" for what she believed was in ignorant comment on Izzo's part.
"I'm sorry it's been a difficult week for you," Raisman Tweeted. "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."
Apart from Izzo's comments on Nassar, he also received backlash for showing support for Simon.
"I have to say that I have the utmost faith and respect for the leadership of our president, too, at Michigan State," Izzo said. "That’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."
Izzo and the MSU basketball team play Illinois on the road on Monday. That game tips of at 9 p.m.