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MSU Coach Defends Postgame Handshakes: Our Real Problem Is Replacing Character With Excuses

Tom Izzo
Image CreditMLive / YouTube

As Izzo pointed out, ending respectful, character-building customs to absolve bad behavior isn’t going to get anyone anywhere.


Michigan State’s head basketball coach Tom Izzo had some choice words for the talking heads calling for the end of the handshake line at the conclusion of sports games, but his analysis of American culture is what is really turning heads.

Izzo said the people demanding the postgame handshake line be optional is is “the biggest farce joke” he’s ever heard and would simply be used as an “excuse” to avoid teaching players and coaches character.

“We’ve already taught these poor 18-year-olds that when you’re told to go to class and you don’t like it, you can leave. We’ve already told these kids that if you’re not happy, you can do something else. We’ve already told these kids that it’s hard to hold them accountable,” Izzo said. “And now we’re going to tell them to not man up and walk down a line [to] someone who’s kicked your butt and have enough class to shake their hand — is utterly ridiculous.”

Izzo’s comments come just days after the University of Michigan’s basketball coach Juwan Howard slapped Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft in the face after the Badgers beat the Wolverines. Howard, who claims he was upset because Wisconsin called a late timeout, was suspended on Monday for the rest of the regular season and fined $40,000 for his unsportsmanlike behavior.

Howard later apologized for his actions which he said were “unacceptable” and set a poor example for students athletes.

Despite Howard ending his apology with “no excuses,” sportscaster talking heads rushed to suggest that NCAA sports teams just do away with handshake lines, a universal sign of respect after a sports game, altogether.

“The HAND SHAKE LINE should go – too much emotion / tension will ultimately create an even bigger scenario than yesterday,” Dick Vitale, a basketball sportscaster, tweeted on Monday.

He even called on the Big 10 commissioner to “act on what happened” at the Michigan vs. Wisconsin game.

Other sports media figures also jumped on the anti-handshake bandwagon.

Izzo defended sportsmanship, respect, and taking responsibility for what could be a win or a loss as necessary for basketball, but his assessment of the motivation behind abolishing the postgame handshake line doesn’t stop with sports.

“That’s typical of our country right now,” Izzo continued. “Instead of solving the problem, let’s make an excuse and let’s see if we can just, instead of confronting and demanding that it changes, let’s eliminate it so that we don’t have those problems.”

Izzo is right. While respectful coaches try to grapple with what possessed Howard to risk his career in a moment of anger, Americans are grappling with why a nation riddled with problems lacks the character and willingness to fix them. As Izzo noted, there is an overwhelming lack of responsibility and respect in the U.S. when it comes to solving issues of great consequence.

For example, President Joe Biden and his administration have failed to take responsibility for the myriad of crises facing Americans today. Instead of addressing the ongoing Southern border crisis, rising inflation, and supply chain issues, the White House has deflected criticism and even blamed Americans for national problems. They’ve used rhetoric and their allies in Congress to smear the GOP as the party of insurrectionists while real terrorism threatens the wide-open U.S.-Mexico border.

Similarly, the health bureaucrats responsible for locking down the country, forcing children to mask or stay glued to a screen at home, and downplaying Communist China’s role in spreading Covid-19 have failed to acknowledge their faults and humbly move forward with a solution. Instead, they cling to masking kids, forcing the Covid-19 jab on people, and claiming that “the science” has changed (again).

Soft-on-crime district attorneys promote lax bail policies in the name of equity instead of keeping dangerous criminals locked up. School districts erase educational standards to combat “racism.” And just like in college basketball’s case, these problems are exacerbated by the corporate media who fail to hold people responsible for their actions and actually run interference for them.

The corporate press blames any actions they deem harmful on “racist, domestic terrorist” Republicans while true criminals are shooed out of the news cycle because they don’t fit a certain narrative.

As Izzo pointed out, ending respectful, character-building customs to absolve bad behavior isn’t going to get anyone anywhere.

“If the president said it, I think he’s full of it. If the best coach in America said it, I think … that gets me more than this incident,” Izzo concluded.