The time has come for Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren to deliver a message that Michigan and Michigan State players, coaches and fans will cling to once and for all.
“Grow up or there will be consequences that nobody likes.”
We no longer care about this “little brother”.
It has been the slogan of the Wolverines vs Spartan football rivalry since Mike Hart described Michigan as a “little brother” in 2007 and Michigan state coach Mark Dantonio responded by asking if Hart – who is six feet younger. That rivalry has since been about one side proving that the other school is the worse sibling – and as a result got the worst out of what should be a classic state rivalry.
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“It’s not about the game anymore,” former Michigan defender Marcus Ray told Sporting News. “It’s about trying to humiliate each other.”
It is on the pitch, off the pitch and on social media. Ray is right. He played for the Michigan state team in 1997 and remembered a time when – I understand – both teams were able to get out of the tunnel at the same time before the game and then enter the tunnel without a fight.
So it is absurd to blame the Michigan Stadium tunnel for the ugliness that erupted at the end of Saturday’s Michigan No. 4 win 29-7 against Michigan State. Perhaps Michigan needs to provide more security in the tunnel and that both teams must have separate entrances and exits from the games.
This does not justify the actions of the four Michigan players who were suspended due to separate quarrels with Michigan players Gemon Green and Ja’Den McBurrows. The movie – shot by Detroit News reporter Matt Charboneau – doesn’t lie. Nor is there an eyewitness account from Detroit Free Press reporter Chris Solari as seen in this video:
“I tried to regain position, thinking I was still recording because Itayvion” Tank “Brown in front of me picked up Wolverines’ number 1 – it was Ja’Den McBurrows after reviewing the video later – and tossed it back through the metal door that remained open despite the fact that the UM player hit them after being thrown into them. Then I saw Zion Young and Angelo Grose put their fists together and then knock McBurrows to the ground. Young also kicked the UM player as McBurrows (also after a later video review) jumped out and turned away from the pile towards his locker room on the tunnel side. ”
The fact that it’s from a college football game is embarrassing, but somehow not that surprising. Green has hired a lawyer, Tom Mars, and may pursue criminal charges, for MLive.com.
Sorry, but you cannot blame an inanimate object – in this case a tunnel – for its behavior on the football pitch that leads to criminal charges. The ugly truth is that this behavior has escalated between Wolverines and Spartans for 15 years.
In 2011, Michigan defender William Gholston was suspended after a game in Michigan for two personal fouls – one for removing Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson and the other for hitting Taylor Lewan.
In 2014, Michigan line player Joe Bolden put ahead of the game at the Spartan Stadium, and Michigan State responded by raising the score in a loss of 35-11 with the last TD coming five seconds before the game.
In 2018, Michigan line player Devin Bush was on the pitch as Michigan players crossed the pitch. Bush did not move and there was a push with Spartan players. Bush responded by stepping on the Michigan logo in the center of the field.
These incidents never rose to Saturday’s level, but the coaches involved did not apologize exactly for their actions at the time. It was basically: “Sorry, but it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t provoked …”
Stop. This is the kind of thing two young children say to their parents.
It’s time for Michigan state coach Mel Tucker and Michigan state coach Jim Harbaugh to put an end to this childish crap before something worse happens and bring that rivalry back on a decent scale. Yes, it could be worse. Remember the 2004 Clemson-South Carolina fight? Saturday was a little too close to that.
Tucker apologized at his press conference on Monday.
“We are not here to make excuses for Saturday behavior. They’re unacceptable, ”Tucker said on the Detroit Free Press. “It is also very important to say that we respect the traditions of the Big Ten Conference, including the state of Michigan-Game for Competition in Michigan. And we have a responsibility to uphold the values of this great university. ”
The state of Michigan can do more. Tucker should suspend players until the end of the regular season. Spartans should contact Green and McBurrows and apologize too.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a tougher line.
“An apology won’t do the trick,” Harbaugh told reporters on Monday.
He wasn’t finished.
“We are currently conducting a police investigation. What happened in the tunnel was gross, ”said Harbaugh. “It’s disgusting to watch the videos that are on social media now and also the ABC tunnel camera that sits higher up showing a lot more of what happened.”
MORE: The state of Michigan Suspends Four Players After The Tunnel Incident
Everything Harbaugh says is true and right in supporting his players. Harbaugh, however, may take a less combative approach about what happens next.
The Wolverines made a double pass from behind at 2:34 before the end of the game. The video also showed the Michigan players waving goodbye to the Michigan players as the teams had to be separated on the pitch after the game. The fan touched Tucker’s head in the tunnel before the game. The Michigan and Penn State players also had to be separated at halftime on October 15.
Does any of this justify the reaction from Michigan players? Of course not. There is no justification for the actions of the Spartans, regardless of what is said in the tunnel.
In the hot rivalry that is underway, however, there is no need to interfere with it.
Michigan should at least look at providing more security in the tunnel and make sure that both teams can enter and exit separately, with no exceptions. It will have to be compulsory now, even though it should not be necessary for players and coaches at the college level.
Has anyone watched the Packers-Bills game on Sunday Night Football? Stefon Diggs and Jaire Alexander threw their jaws back and forth in the tunnel at Highmark Stadium – where both teams had entered the field – and for 60 minutes during the match. Was there a fight after that? Of course not, because they are professionals.
The tunnel is not a problem. There is a disrespect between the two programs. Fleeing Michigan, Blake Corum shot at Spartans and Tucker, whose slogan “Tuck Comin” became popular in East Lansing, Michigan.
“I thought Tuck was coming,” Corum told reporters via MLive.com. “I thought Tuck was coming. That’s what they said out of season, right? All those shirts – Tuck was coming. I saw him run. ”
Nobody was really laughing because it was stacked up. The blows and shirts are superficial and childish. Sometimes that makes competition great, but how kids like to say, “That’s not it.”
It wasn’t like that when Ray played in the 90s. It was a competitive state, but the players had friends on both sides. It was a tough fight and sparked off some controversial moments, but Saturday’s events were far from either Desmond Howard’s stumble in the end zone or the Spartan Bob leaving an extra second on the clock.
“All this conversation is part of the era we live in,” said Ray. “We live in what I like to call” My sickness. ” They don’t think about what this game should mean in Michigan.
This is where Warren comes in. Warren should meet with Tucker, Harbaugh, Michigan State Sports Director Warde Manuel, and Michigan State Sports Director Alan Haller. Same room or Zoom combination. Not relevant. Warren should start with this news.
“Grow up or there will be consequences that nobody likes.”
When two brothers fight and keep pointing at each other, what are you doing? You’re threatening to take away something they both love.
Michigan-Michigan State has created amazing moments, and the Paul Bunyan Trophy is one of the coolest awards for the Big Ten trophy. They played six matches in which both teams have been classified since 2010. To illustrate this, there were six rankings from 1975-2009. From “Punt Fumble” to the wonderful return from Michigan that sparked Little Brother’s comment in 2007, there are many things to love about this competition.
Then Warren can show them sides of twisted logic, aggression and pointing fingers on social media from both sides. From there, he only needs to issue one simple threat.
“We’re taking the game off the schedule. It may not be happening right now, but USC and UCLA will soon be joining us and there is talk of our eliminating divisions conference. That would make it easier to leave the game off the season schedule – and your players, fans and coaches certainly don’t want that. But if you can’t share the same yard without a little decency and respect on and off the pitch – and be honest, you haven’t had the last 15 years – we can put an end to it. Understand?
Better everyone shakes their heads, “Yes.”
Don’t blame Warren. It won’t be his fault at this point.
It’s time for both parties to grow up quickly.