Magic Johnson calls for firings amid Michigan State sexual assault scandal

Magic Johnson embraces Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo after a 2009 NCAA tournament win. (AP)
Magic Johnson embraces Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo after a 2009 NCAA tournament win. (AP)

As investigations continue into Michigan State’s handling of sexual assault allegations against former faculty member Larry Nassar, the university’s most famous alum finally weighed in on the scandal.

In a series of tweets on Monday morning, Spartans legend Magic Johnson called for the firing of any employee who failed to report sexual assault allegations on campus to the proper authorities:

Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, athletic director Mark Hollis and Board of Trustees president Anna K. Simon have all resigned amid the scandal. A number of Nassar’s victims cited the university’s failure to report their allegations during their impact statements at Nassar’s sentencing. More than 140 alleged victims have brought a lawsuit against Michigan State as a result of that failure.

Meanwhile, the NCAA has launched an investigation into allegations Michigan State employees knew of Nassar’s abuse well before his firing in September 2016. Additionally, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” uncovered last week an institutional failure to report sexual assault cases beyond the Nassar case.

It is notable that Johnson cited only Tom Izzo by name and offered “to work with” the famed Michigan State men’s basketball coach. Izzo has spent recent days evading questions about his handling of assault allegations against former team members Travis Walton, Keith Appling and Adreian Payne.

According to ESPN, Walton — a member of the Michigan State team that lost the 2009 championship game — continued serving as an undergraduate student assistant coach on Izzo’s staff after facing criminal charges for punching a female student in the face in 2010. He was accused of raping another female student three months later. Both Appling and Payne were accused of raping yet another female student in August 2010, per the “Outside the Lines” report, and neither faced discipline from the team.

By Magic Johnson’s own reasoning, there’s a possibility Tom Izzo is among those he wants to see fired.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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