Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio on anti-Michigan Twitter posts: 'Our guys need to keep their mouths shut'
"Michigan has a tremendous football storied tradition," Dantonio said Tuesday. "I didn’t see much different when we played the University of Alabama a couple of years ago (in a 49-7 Capital One Bowl loss).
"Our guys need to keep their mouths shut. Is that blunt enough? I’m sure that will make headline news. Especially those that aren’t even playing."
Among the players to ridicule Robinson during Michigan’s 41-14 loss were starting linebacker Denicos Allen, kick returner and running back Nick Hill, and freshmen Kyle Artinian and Jamal Lyles, who have yet to play.
Michigan State has won the past four rivalry games, and it was once Dantonio who said of Michigan, "Pride comes before the fall."
"I’m not going to say that there’s not free speech in our program, but I think I’ll say what I’ve said all along," Dantonio said. "You can’t be prideful. You need to approach this game with humility. And when it becomes personal, that crosses the line."
Many of the posts have since been deleted. Allen, who deleted his tweet questioning Robinson as a quarterback and jokingly declaring Michigan State walk-on Tommy Vento as the better player, later apologized on Twitter.
"Lol well apparently I hurt a lot of feelings sorry guys lol I guess we have to wait till October 20th to play some real football #GoGreen," Allen tweeted.
The Twitter posts drew a reaction from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote, a former Michigan player who tweeted, "JAMAL LYLES, kyle artian, and back up RB shut yall mouth and GET ON THE FIELD REDSHIRTERS."
They also became a national discussion point on ESPN First Take earlier in the morning, with analyst Stephen A. Smith going as far as to call for the players involved to be suspended.
"You personally attacked this dude. Why?" Smith said. "You’ve beaten them the last four times. Your program is one of only seven BCS programs to have won at least 11 games over the last two seasons. So you’re feeling yourself. You’re celebrating yourself. But how many bowl appearances have you been to over the last several years? I mean, if you think about it, it’s just recent memory where big-time program, you’re elevated to that point. There’s been plenty of years that Michigan has been the big fish. You haven’t been.
"As bad as it would have been to talk about the Michigan program, there’s something that’s a little level of extra cruelty that kicks in when you go after Denard Robinson the way you had these guys saying a walk-on would be better than this Heisman Trophy candidate. You are trying to disrespect him. You know he’s got all types of aspirations. I just think there’s a level of cruelty that they exercised on behalf of the university -- not just themselves -- and that’s why you have to deal with them accordingly in that fashion."
Said analyst Skip Bayless: "In this case, this is an embarrassment for that program to have that many players attack a quarterback who just does not deserve that of an archrival in-state. You just can’t have it. The joke’s on the head coach because he apparently didn’t have a strong enough anti-Twitter program to start with."
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