Magic Johnson: Michigan State Employees Who Ignored Sex Abuse Should Be Fired

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 09: Magic Johnson attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on January 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Basketball Hall of Famer and Michigan State alumnus Magic Johnson called on the university to fire anyone who knew about the sexual assaults committed against women amid the fallout from the Larry Nassar trial.  

"If anyone was aware of the sexual assault happening to women on the MSU campus from the office of the President, Board of Trustees, athletic department, faculty & campus police, and didn’t say or do anything about it, they should be fired," Johnson tweeted Monday.

Nassar, who served as Michigan State's lead sports physician, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 140 underage girls during his time at the school and as a doctor for USA Gymnastics. Outside the Lines then reported "a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression" by school officials when handling allegations of violence against women went beyond Nassar and extended into the basketball and football programs.

Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis have already resigned from their positions.

The Outside the Lines report included two separate incidents involving former Michigan State basketball assistant Travis Walton, who was allowed to continue coaching despite being criminally charged with punching a female student in the face. Later that same year, a woman said Walton and two MSU basketball players raped her. Walton was eventually fired.

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo said he has no plans of stepping down last week amid rumors he would retire. After Sunday's win over Maryland, Izzo said he hoped the basketball team would be "part of the healing process" on campus. Pressed by a reporter about Walton in his postgame press conference, Izzo refused to go into details. 

"Well, as I said before, we'll cooperate with any investigation and always have," Izzo said. "We've done it before, and we'll do it moving forward. It's about all I'm going to say on it that we did cooperate with everything."

Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio held a press conference Friday saying reports his program mishandled sexual assault allegations were "completely false."

"I have received many questions and inquiries about today's reports and latest reports. I'm here tonight to say that any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false," Dantonio said. "Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I've always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with the cases of sexual assault. We have always had high standards in this program, and that will never change."

At least 16 Michigan State football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women during Dantonio's tenure, according to Outside the Lines.