So here it is, rock bottom for the war of words attached to the once fun and proud rivalry of Michigan State and University of Michigan:
Tom Izzo has been compared to Adolf Hitler.
Yes. You read that correctly. Michigan fans, who run a (relatively?) popular podcast and partner with current UMich Center and villain wannabe Hunter Dickinson took the angle that Hall of Fame Michigan State Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Izzo is comparable to a dictatorial mass murderer.
Despite being a key part of the podcast, Dickinson doesn’t associate himself with his co-hosts comments. The star center told the AP:
“We talked about it, and we came together and said that’s something we can’t say,” Dickinson told The Associated Press after the Wolverines beat Penn State 79-69 Wednesday night. “We fully understand that. I don’t associate myself with that comment.
“I have a lot of respect for Tom Izzo.”
By the way, the AP also felt the need to remind everyone of the difference between Tom Izzo and Hitler:
Hitler and his accomplices systematically murdered 6 million Jews in Europe. Izzo is a Basketball Hall of Fame coach with one national championship and eight Final Four appearances.
I’m glad the AP can keep us focused on the facts.
In terms of Dickinson, I guess(?) it’s good he doesn’t “associate” himself with hateful comments like this? And that he agrees it’s “something they can’t say”… might have been nice of him to actually denounce the comments. Or acknowledge how incredibly outrageous, offensive and extreme they were. But… not associating himself with people that are obviously his friends….ok….
According to those who know Hunter Dickinson “behind closed doors” he’s a great guy.
Hunter Dickinson: “I have a lot of respect for Tom Izzo.”— Graham Couch (@Graham_Couch) January 5, 2023
He’s made himself a public villain to MSU, but, as I understand it, behind closed doors Dickinson thinks highly of Izzo. https://t.co/AjBMqeLzfn
The problem is Dickinson likes to live in a world where he doesn’t stay behind closed doors. In fact, in the middle of a pretty rocky University of Michigan season, the eloquent and darling self appointed spokesperson for the program from Ann Arbor likes to sum up his in-state neighbors as follows:
“You only go to Michigan State if you don’t get into Michigan” - @H_Dickinson24— RoundBall Podcast (@roundballpod) December 18, 2022
At the 20 second mark, Dickinson lays out his eloquent thoughts on Michigan State, their fans and their students.
If you couldn’t stomach your way past poor man’s Jonah Hill impersonator, Hunter’s comments can be summed up as follows:
[MSU fans are] belittled so much by us that they get an ounce of success and they just run with it. They had one good season in Football and just ran with it…It’s honestly Michigan fans fault, since we belittle them so much… You only go to Michigan State if you don’t get into Michigan.
By the way, the reason for the Hitler comparison by Dickinson’s hype crew was because a former player for Coach Izzo believed the Hall of Famer would have made his guys run to punish them for saying something as disrespectful as Hunter Dickinson’s December 18th comments.
So here we are on the hate cycle. Rivalries make sports fun. It’s FUN to have a competitive relationship with a person, another team, or even another town or region. These add camaraderie to your communal experience, and give you common ground (even if filled with jibes) with others. Rivalries can actually build community and connect strangers.
The University of Michigan and Michigan State rivalry is doing the opposite. For the last few years the noise surrounding these two programs is getting out of hand. From real on-field violence to incendiary comments from coaches, fans are being led to ever increasing heights of extreme rhetoric.
It can be fun to be extreme, but it can also just be distasteful. In this case, and with much of Hunter Dickinson’s ever present need to squeal for attention through toddler-like attempts to be shocking, it just needs to stop.
In the early days of the internet, Godwin’s Law was born. In short, it posits “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.”
It’s time for Hunter Dickinson to end his involvement in the rivalry of words. Take time off from your podcast, let your game do the talking for a bit. And be prepared to get beat this weekend as Michigan State.
That should be the show we all watch.