We’ve long admired Tom Izzo’s Michigan State program. His teams always play smart, hard and always fundamentally sound basketball.
When Izzo’s name came up in the Adidas scandal, it was only because Christian Dawkins essentially called him unbribable and complimented his integrity.
But Michigan State has not been problem free.
There have been allegations of sexual assault by Spartans and Izzo’s behavior was at the least questionable, including contacting a witness. We’ve also seen his fiery side periodically, including this spring when he got into it with player Gabe Brown as the team left the court during halftime, putting his hands on his player as they walked off the court.
That more or less blew over at least partly because Brown said it “was no big deal.”
But we’ve never seen anything like what is happening now with former Spartan Keith Appling.
It’s important to note the former part: Appling was a senior in 2014 and neither Izzo nor Michigan State is responsible for his behavior. He’s a grown man and has made his own choices.
But it’s not a good look for Michigan State that he’s a suspect in a murder case, nor that he has been trafficking in heroin.
In the big picture, as noted above, this doesn’t involve Michigan State. But it has to concern them. If nothing else had happened, if Izzo’s behavior hadn’t been questioned several times before it certainly wouldn’t be.
But it has, several times actually, and there comes a tipping point. We don’t think this is it, but it’s one more pressure on Izzo. And if there is another issue, this will be remembered.
Also, we shouldn’t have to say it, but obviously a suspicion or allegation is not proof of anything and as of now, Appling has not been arrested, much less charged. We hope that he is innocent. It would be a terrible fall if he did what he’s suspected of doing.
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