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Magic Johnson speaks loudly, will action follow at MSU?

Magic Johnson speaks up for the first time about the sexual assault allegations and crimes at Michigan State. Will his words bring action?

There simply isn’t any alumnus at Michigan State University more famous than Magic Johnson. So when he speaks on issues surrounding the university and the athletic department, people tend to listen.

On Monday morning, Johnson spoke loudly and clearly regarding the sexual assault scandal that has rocked his beloved university.

He took to Twitter to make his public statements on the issue and his words were clear, concise and unwavering in their anger.

Johnson went on to show support for the victims of all the sexual assaults alleged and proven to date.

Everyone? That begs the question of what Johnson believes should happen to MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio. The answer appears to be not much in the case of the Izzo, because Johnson stated he wants to work with Izzo to fix the issue.

That could be hard to do as questions continue to hang over Izzo and Dantonio if an ESPN Outside the Lines report on Friday is to be believed. Izzo certainly has a lot of questions to answer, and the more he talks the more fishy things sound. Take for example his post-game press conference after a game with Maryland on Sunday.

An ESPN reporter grilled Izzo over the bombshell that former player and student assistant coach, Travis Walton, had been implicated in a criminal investigation over an alleged assault on a woman in a bar and then later an allegation of sexual assault that never was made to the police. Instead, ESPN alleges that the family went to Mark Hollis about the incident.

Izzo seemed to try his best to dance around the questions as delicately as possible.

Here’s the exchange:

It is true that Walton left the program following the 2010 season and did go over to Europe to play. However, the allegation of assault hung over him throughout his year on the coaching staff and he was never suspended while the criminal investigation or anything else was happening regarding the allegation.

There certainly are plenty of questions to be answered but it’s likely the media won’t be the ones getting those answers. It’s much more likely that they come from the special investigator and NCAA investigators findings in the coming months. That’s also assuming the NCAA investigators actually do their jobs, and that’s been a stretch at times.

Magic Johnson’s statements certainly put pressure on MSU to get things right this time, and that should be applauded. Reform is certainly needed, and Magic is saying all the right things. Let’s see if there is any true follow through happens or not, because words don’t matter without action behind them and that’s exactly what is needed now — actions.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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