Xavier Henderson and a few other Michigan State football players deserve credit for displaying leadership in the tunnel.
Saturday was a black eye for Michigan State football.
It was an ugly situation in the tunnel caused by a handful of guys that doesn’t reflect the culture built by Mel Tucker and the leadership he has exhibited.
That hasn’t stopped people on social media from criticizing the head coach (though he’s done everything right) and his players for their roles in the tunnel altercation following the Michigan loss.
But we’re not seeing enough praise for guys like Xavier Henderson, Derrick Harmon, and Kendell Brooks who diffused the ugly situation and made sure things didn’t escalate further. The optics are already bad, but if those guys don’t step up and end the fight, things could have gotten even worse.
The tunnel video shows just a snippet of the ugly incident and the leaders who stepped in.
ESPN captured tunnel video of the Michigan State incident with Michigan after the game on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/Woq3UDl8Xj
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 31, 2022
If you’ve logged on to social media since the game, first off, you’re a brave soul. And second, you’d hear all about how Tucker is creating a horrible culture at Michigan State because he… punched a door? Fans of other schools are quick to call Spartans racially-charged names and say they deserve to be thrown in jail. Some rival fans are even insinuating that Tucker deserves to be fired.
Very little logic and reason have crept in.
But that’s how ugly the rivalry has gotten. A coach takes accountability for the situation and immediately suspends four guys involved and says that he’s going to cooperate with law enforcement and the Big Ten and yet rival fans want his head on a stake. It truly makes no sense.
We don’t hear enough about how Henderson stepped in and made sure his team went back into the locker room and diffused what could have been an uglier situation. We don’t hear about how Harmon and Brooks ripped Khary Crump away from a helmet-swinging altercation.
Sure, it’s easy to focus on the bad when such an ugly situation occurs, but we need to also be praising the leaders who made the university proud.
Henderson, Harmon, and Brooks should all be captains for the Illinois game for their positive roles on Saturday night.
Everything could have been avoided, there’s no doubt about that. The handful of Michigan State players could have ignored the Michigan player jogging down the tunnel. They could have done what they did all week and remained quiet and let Michigan do the talking.
Players should be suspended and one should probably be kicked off the team, but three deserve all the praise from their coach who should be proud of how they handled the situation.