The jokes and comments about millennials and future generations are no secret. The ‘participation trophy’ jokes and comments such as ‘everybody’s a winner’ have become a talking point on social media.
The alleged ‘softness’ that is linked with young generations became a key talking point during this past NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo got into the face of Aaron Henry, a freshman from Indianapolis. Izzo, visibly upset that his second-seeded Spartans team was struggling against a 15-seeded Bradley team, would need to be held back from Henry.
As the scene unfolded on the court, the battle was being waged on social media and in post-game sports shows.
“For the record, this is NOT how adults are supposed to behave,” tweeted John Amaechi. “I don't give a damn what he did - the victim is an UNPAID STUDENT, the perpetrator is an adult MILLIONAIRE.”
However, others disagreed. Sportscenter’s Scott Van Pelt went on a near two-minute speech about today’s society after seeing the reaction to Izzo’s “temper tantrum”.
“This is not about snowflakes or being soft,” said Van Pelt on his show back on Mar. 24. “It is about a gigantic problem that we have allowed to happen in society but go out of our way to ensure that it gets worse. People seem to have a real issue if they are held accountable.”
Van Pelt went on to say that today’s society is so concerned with safe spaces that “whenever a coach gets onto a player, it is considered out of bounds”.
Former CCU Men’s Basketball player Colton Ray-St. Cyr weighed on this discussion with his own experience.
“Playing overseas, I have coaches like that and I have seen some AAU coaches do a lot worse than what Izzo did,” said Ray-St. Cyr. “I feel like if you cannot get on your players a little bit, then you will not have a championship team. I guarantee you that any coach, regardless of the league they are in, have gotten on their players the same way that Izzo did.”
Coastal Carolina men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis also weighed in, noting the support that Izzo received from players past and present after the incident.
“The negative reactions did not come from the players,” said Ellis. “All those players look at [Izzo] as a father figure. They totally understood it.”
Scott Van Pelt said it best when he closed his two-minute sound off on the Aaron Henry/Tom Izzo situation.
“Be good and mad about how Tom Izzo yelled at his players,” said Van Pelt. “His players, past and present, have a rare loyalty to him. He doesn’t have a transfer problem; he has the opposite. A bunch of four-year guys, the overwhelming majority of whom have gotten to Final Fours in part because of being held accountable the way he holds them accountable. You don’t like it? Fine. Don’t send your kid there. But stop being offending by things that don’t concern you. Because they’re not.”