Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo issued a statement Sunday, saying he used the “wrong words” in a postgame news conference Friday night regarding Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal.
In comments Friday night, Izzo backed MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, who has faced criticism and calls for her resignation regarding how the university has handled the investigation.
“It’s been a very difficult week for me,” Izzo said Friday after Michigan State’s 85-57 win over Indiana at the Breslin Center. “As a father, it’s been a difficult week. I listened to the stories of those courageous women and 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 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.”
On Sunday, Izzo said in a statement he used the “wrong words” during the news conference.
“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.”
Izzo’s comments Friday drew a strong response from the mother of Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Lynn. Aly Raisman is one of 91 women or teenage girls who have stepped forward to give victim-impact statements in Nassar’s sentencing hearings.
“Dear Tom Izzo, I’m sorry it’s been a difficult week for you,” Lynn 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.”
The Board of Trustees met Friday, calling Simon “the right leader” while also asking the Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate its handling of the allegations against the former gymnastics doctor. Trustee Mitch Lyons came out with a statement on Saturday, however, calling for Simon to step down.