Magic Johnson offers to be ‘part of the solution’ to Michigan State scandal

Magic Johnson wrote on Twitter that he wants to work with the university and Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo on being “part of the solution.”
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Magic Johnson weighed in on the sexual abuse scandal that has his alma mater, Michigan State, under federal investigation, saying he wants to be “part of the solution.”

“If anyone was aware of the sexual assault happening to women on the MSU campus from the office of the President, Board of Trustees, athletic department, faculty & campus police, and didn’t say or do anything about it, they should be fired,” Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, wrote Monday on Twitter.

Larry Nasser, who served as a sports doctor for Michigan State as well as USA Gymnastics for almost two decades, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for multiple counts of sexual misconduct against victims that included Olympic gymnasts. School president Lou Anna Simon resigned and athletic director Mark Hollis retired in the wake of the scandal.

“The roles of the new President, Board of Trustees, athletic department, faculty, campus police and students will be to work together to create new policies and procedures to ensure this never happens again,” Johnson tweeted.

In a final post, Johnson wrote that he wants to work with the university and Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo on being “part of the solution.”


Julius Randle looked angry as he tangled with Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas on Sunday. Players pushed the two apart , muting the tension before it went further.

That emotion, though, is just what the Lakers want from Randle.

“I love that,” Randle said. “I live for that.”

He added later, “I just play physical and some people don’t like that.”

Two weeks after coach Luke Walton said he wants Randle to set the tone when it comes to toughness and physicality, it’s clear from his play that Randle has accepted that challenge.

“He has been great,” Walton said. “… It is more just [his being] our aggressor so that we have somebody that is physical on our team that stands up when we get pushed around, and I think he has done a really nice job of that.”

Randle also has made adjustments when it comes to what the Lakers want from him defensively, and he cited a lesson learned recently against the Charlotte Hornets and Marvin Williams.

“I played him like three times in a row, just because I was overhelping,” Randle said. “Me and Luke talked about it and from then on — we played Atlanta the next game — I was locked in. … That is the first time that happened. I wasn’t guarding too many stretch fours because I was switching one through five.”

Said Walton: “I think he’s been spectacular all year of the switching part of it. Guarding all the positions, one through five. Recently he’s gotten much better at our defensive scheme, the coverages and recognizing what we’re trying to do.”

Walton has had his fair share of disagreements with officials. He has received five technical fouls this season, and at the time he got his fifth, he was the league’s leader among coaches.

After the Lakers lost to Portland last month, Walton used part of his postgame press conference to express frustration with the way the game was called and what he felt was an unfair slant against his team.

But when asked about the relationship between the referees and players this week, in light of the NBA’s proposed meeting between the two sides to iron out issues, Walton demurred.

“The refs do a fine job,” Walton said. “It has been like this since I played. I don’t see it being much different. As far as what they are addressing, I haven’t delved much into that so I don’t know the details of that meeting and what they are planning. But they have a very challenging job and do it to the best of their ability. There was a time when we didn’t have those refs and it was much worse.”

Asked if tensions have reached an apex, Walton said they hadn’t. He said there is just more attention paid to disagreements between players and officials. He did say that rule changes have made the jobs of both sides more challenging.

“There’s a lot of and-ones in the history of the NBA that are not being called now,” Walton said. “You got a split second to decide if the player had two hands on the ball or cradled it with one hand. That takes some getting used to. And with the new rules, coming over screens, and what is a shooting foul and what is not, that is stuff that takes time.

“There are also a lot of new, young referees in our league that are like young players, like young coaches, like young anything, are still getting better at their craft and learning how the NBA is played and getting familiar with it.”

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli