Tom Izzo delivered a stern warning to Michigan State fans on Tuesday night: Leave his players alone.
Izzo, following No. 16 Michigan State’s 75-70 loss to No. 22 Penn State the Breslin Center, made it clear that he won’t tolerate any Spartans fans harassing his players on social media — something that has been an issue in recent days.
“I’m going to tell you something guys, and I really mean this from the bottom of my heart,” Izzo said. “If there are any Michigan State people out there that are abusing some of my players on that frickin’ Twitter, I’m sick of it. OK? I’m sick of dealing with what I have to deal with on that. So if they are Michigan State fans, I’ll be more than happy to buy their tickets, and I mean that.”
"If there's any Michigan State people out there that are abusing some of my players on that freakin' Twitter...I'm sick of it."
Following Tuesday's loss to Penn State, Tom Izzo addressed some of the criticism he's seen on social media: pic.twitter.com/KQgPwLCgHB
The Spartans loss to Penn State marked their fourth in their last seven games, and their second straight following a one-point loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. The skid is clearly one Michigan State fans aren’t happy about, especially since they started out the year as the top-ranked team in the country.
Tom Izzo through his career
Tom Izzo through his career
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts after a score in the second half of the NCAA Midwest Regional men's college basketball tournament final against Louisville Sunday, March 29, 2009, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is congratulated by former Michigan State player Earvin "Magic" Johnson after MSU's 70-69 win over Tennessee in the NCAA Midwest Regional college basketball championship game Saturday, March 28, 2009, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo looks on during the championship game at the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament, Monday, April 6, 2009, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, left, celebrates with assistant coaches Mark, Montgomery, right, and Dwayne Stephens, center, after Michigan State beat Maryland 85-83 in an NCAA second-round college basketball game in Spokane, Wash., Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Rajah Bose)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts during the first half against Butler in a men's NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 3, 2010, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, center, is hugged by players, including Kalin Lucas, left, Austin Thornton, center rear, Korie Lucious, right front, and Garrick Sherman, right rear, during a news conference Tuesday, June 15, 2010, in East Lansing, Mich., announcing that he will stay at Michigan State instead of moving to the NBA to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts along with guard Denzel Valentine, rear, at the end of a 67-64 win over Kansas during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Iowa City, Iowa. Michigan State won 62-59. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, center front, celebrates with his team after the regional final against Louisville in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Syracuse, N.Y. Michigan State won the game 76-70. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo smiles during a practice session for the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game Friday, April 3, 2015, in Indianapolis. Michigan State plays Duke on Saturday. (AP Photo/David J.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, right, gets a hug from guard Denzel Valentine, who is next to forward Matt Costello, after Izzo's 500th career win, during an NCAA college basketball game, a 99-68 victory over Boston College in the quarterfinals of the Wooden Legacy tournament in Fullerton, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Michigan State associate head coach Dwayne Stephens tries calming coach Tom Izzo during the latter's disagreement with a referee during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oakland, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts from courtside in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo claps during practice at the NCAA college basketball in Detroit, Thursday, March 15, 2018. Michigan State plays Bucknell in the first round on Friday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo listens to a question at a press conference during Big Ten NCAA college basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Rosemont, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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Yet that frustration, Izzo said, has prompted some fans to send offensive social media posts directed at his players in recent days.
“I mean we’re still 16-7. We’re not 5-20,” Izzo said. “I’m pretty proud of this place. I’m pretty proud of the 550,000 living alums. And it’s despicable some of the things that have gone out there about some of our guys that have given more to this program than most of those alums or most of those people sitting behind a chicken keyboard.”
While he knows he can’t eliminate it from social media completely, Izzo wants to ensure any hate directed at his program isn’t falling on his players’ shoulders.
He’s more than happy to take it instead.
“I’m asking all Michigan State fans, real fans, to understand. I get paid a lot of money, so take your shots at me,” Izzo said. “But don’t take them on a kid whose been a 3.7 student, whose done more for this university than most of those people have. It’s despicable to me.”