The Michigan vs. Michigan State football rivalry has always been intense, but it’s taken an ugly turn this year.
I’ve taken a little time to let the Michigan State football loss and the scuffle in the tunnel settle in and I’ve come to one conclusion: this rivalry has taken an ugly turn.
We all saw the videos of the tunnel incident where Ja’Den McBurrows getting pushed around and beaten up by Michigan State players. It was weird to see 5-6 guys taking on one but it also didn’t make a ton of sense that he was in the tunnel with the Spartans while the rest of his team was waiting behind.
The video caught bits and pieces of the incident and we don’t know what caused it, but obviously no one deserves to be beaten up for talking trash. Unless he was physical first, there’s no defending this.
Michigan State players needed to be less reactionary in that situation. Let him talk trash and get him back next year in East Lansing with a win.
Not only was this incident ugly, but so was the immediate reaction on Twitter.
Fans come out in droves calling MSU players “thugs” and blaming Mel Tucker for the incident and saying he’s building a bad culture. None of that is true. These harsh terms were used to blanket an entire program and a handful of players who made poor decisions while the rest are completely innocent.
There were also calls for these guys to be “thrown in jail” and other extreme calls for action.
Mel Tucker got out in front of it all and said that swift action will be taken. He also apologized for the actions of his players and showed serious class in the face of this ugly situation.
And then a video was posted on Twitter of a Michigan fan reaching out and touching Tucker’s head while he was walking off the field. That’s unacceptable as well.
Hatred has gone to another level. It’s gotten ugly.
Michigan State and Michigan already didn’t like each other, but I think noted Wolverine fan and Barstool writer Chris Castellani said it best: the rivalry is devolving.
This went from a really good rivalry between two teams that didn’t like each other with some intensity and respect to the exact opposite. It’s two good programs that hate each other and do not respect each other anymore.
And it shows.