Aug 4, 2011

Dantonio's Comments On Tressel Being Taken Out Of Context

In last week's Big Ten Media Day there was buzz around several names; new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Both of these men are connected to Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and he was questioned on them both, but his comments on Tressel are what drew the most attention.

When asked about the scandal surrounding Ohio State that lead to Tressel's resignation Dantonio responded in a familiar way for Spartans fans; however others have taken his comments out of context as a way to slam the head coach.

"To me, it’s tragic. He becomes a tragic hero in my view. Usually tragic heroes have an ability to rise above it all in the end. That’s what I’ll look for in the end," said Dantonio.

By definition, a tragic hero is; a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy.
His comment was spot on and accurately describes the situation surrounding Tressel and Buckeye nation. Coach Tressel was blinded by his power in Columbus, he felt that he could get away with anything; and for a long time he could, but just as Dantonio eluded to fate and external forces combined with his error of judgement and brought him down.

In Columbus Tressel had bred an unhealthy culture amongst the team, they felt the same their coach did; they believed that they were able to get away with anything. But when a federal probe into a drug dealing tattoo parlor operator lead to the uncovering of players pawning team memorabilia it caused Tressel's downfall.

While anyone who has read great literary works understands that in calling Tressel a "tragic hero," Dantonio was in no way condoning what he had done; those out to slam the coach grab at whatever they can.

Comment boards exploded with University of Michigan fans haranguing Dantonio for calling Tressel a "hero," saying how could Dantonio condone such actions as took place in Columbus. Many even suggested that Dantonio was conducting similar practices at Michigan State because of his support for Tressel.

These fans have all missed the boat on their thoughts, each one of them claimed that Dantonio had called Tressel a "hero," when he in fact referred to him as a "tragic hero." There is a huge difference between those two; with one you praise a man and with the other you acknowledge his great impact on an area before succumbing to his own vices.

Dantonio was simply trying to rally up support for his team this season as they seek to defend their Big Ten title. The comments were simply a friend commenting on the failure of his long-time friend due to his own actions, Dantonio handled himself appropriately.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke took the podium and tried his best to channel his inner Bo Schembechler, referring to Ohio State repeatedly as "Ohio" and issuing statements such as, "this may be arrogant but, we're Michigan."

While his purpose was to fire up his base, which face it was fired up as soon as Rich Rodriguez was fired, he came across to the other eleven schools in the conference as arrogant and naive. For a coach who has yet to set foot on the field at Michigan Stadium for a game to come out and insult the rest of the conference is ridiculous; that should have been the headline of the day. 

When Dantonio comes out and attempts to do the same thing as Hoke did just an hour prior, fire up his base and get going on the season, people seize upon a quote and take it out of context in order to serve their purpose. The only explanation as to why Michigan fans would seek out any kind of "quote" to use to damage Michigan State and Dantonio is because they are jealous of their recent success and of the success of their head coach.

If all of this venom is being tossed around and it's only the beginning of August, this football season is shaping up to be one of the best yet. The rivalry is back.

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