When a scandal of any kind breaks out, it’s not just those directly and immediately involved that are forced to address the situation. With Michigan State handling the fallout of last week’s ESPN report, it’s not just the university officials, coaches, players and alleged victims responding.
Four days after the report was released, two of Michigan State athletics biggest sponsors have given statements regarding their ongoing involvement with the school.
Friday, both Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio addressed the media. Both did so in front of a different backdrop than usual. The backdrop was missing the logo of Auto-Owners Insurance.
On Tuesday, the company’s spokesperson Trevor Mahoney explained the decision. “The company does not believe it is currently appropriate to place advertising branding on media backdrops used during discussions of serious topics that have impacted the lives of many,” Mahoney said to the Associated Press.
After an away game Sunday, Izzo’s Spartans return home on Wednesday. Izzo will likely again speak to the media following the game. Mahoney did not state whether the company’s logo will return.
Friday, likely the most well-known company linked to MSU also addressed its partnership
. Nike responded to the request by former student-athlete Cate Hannum to rethink its MSU partnership.
#Nike responded to @cate_hannum request to rethink its partnership with #MichiganState with a letter you can read here. Nike writes, “We’ve expressed our deep concerns with Michigan State,” adding it is monitoring #NCAA involvement and actions by MSU board @AP pic.twitter.com/TnXaaRDo2Q— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) January 27, 2018
We are following the details of the rapidly developing events at the university and evolving actions by the Board of Trustees. In addition, we are closely monitoring the NCAA inquiry regarding potential rules violations at Michigan State University to understand how they will address protecting the safety, health, and well-being of athletes.
"Nike followed up their email to me with a phone call because they wanted me to know that they were taking my letter seriously," @cate_hannum told AP. "I want to reiterate that I feel good about how @Nike responded." Hannum is a former MSU rower, who was treated by Nassar.— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) January 27, 2018
No further statement has been released by the company or Michigan State regarding the relationship. Nike has an apparel partnership with Penn State that lasted throughout the school’s Jerry Sandusky scandal that started in 2011.