Fridays with Izzo: Sports “Saving” a City Storyline

By Paul M. Banks

Welcome to a new quasi-weekly feature where we discuss some of the biggest topics in the Michigan State Spartan world, including the insight and observations of legendary MSU coach Tom Izzo. In this edition, we talk about the idea of a successful sports team becoming a battered city’s salvation.

Despite what ESPN, the Chicago Tribune and other corporate media outlets have told you this week, sports does not and cannot save a city in ruins. This week, we incessantly heard about the Saints’ rise supposedly redeeming the city of New Orleans. We’ve been told that the Saints’ winning ways are somehow accelerating the post Katrina rebuilding process. As if each Reggie Bush touchdown run somehow alleviates another unemployed individual out of crippling poverty.

Last April, the MSM wouldn’t leave us alone with their sappy, sentimental “Michigan St. makes the Final Four taking place in their home state, in Detroit; and a Spartans win can lift Detroit out of the economic rubble, as the financial crisis hit this area harder than any other place in the city.”

One man often at the center of those stories was Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, who seemed to offer a very different viewpoint on this topic from mine. Therefore, his thoughts might offer the perfect test to the validity of my position. Like Friedrich Nietzsche said “the thinking man has no need for refutation- for that he suffices within himself.” So, I wanted to see if I could become a thinking man, and I gave Izzo’s arguments a chance to refute me.

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