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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Hey Spartans, it’s time to stop acting like “Lil Brother”

Chris Frey is the latest example in a string of Lil Brother-like comments

(Author’s note, I am and always will be a Spartan. Was born Green and White thanks to two wonderful Michigan State alums for parents)

The date is November 4th, 2007. Michigan and Michigan State duke it out at Spartan Stadium in a year where MSU is christening the Mark Dantonio era, and the Wolverines are responding to a 0-2 start, including a home loss to Appalachian State, with seven straight victories heading into the in-state match-up. Sparty strikes first with a field goal, then watches Michigan rattle off 14 straight to trail at home by 11 at halftime. State responds in the second half with 21 pts in under 15 minutes of game time to lead 24-14 with under seven minutes to play. All is looking Green-and-White… Until Chad Henne scores two touchdowns in under five minutes and helps Michigan break the Spartans hearts again, 28-24.

Nothing new in terms of the rivalry (for lack of a better word) to that point, considering it was Michigan’s sixth straight victory over MSU. Dantonio was brand new, his roster nowhere near as talented as the rival down the road, and there was some solace in the fact that State gave UofM a fight to the end. But then Mike Hart made his little comment (pun intended).

And a new term was born. Another dig in a long line of insults hurled MSU’s way. Except this one sparked an uprising in East Lansing, one of “that’s all we can stands, we can’t stands no more” that began with the football coach and quickly spread like wildfire.

It’s been 10-plus years since that infamous day, Mike Hart had the literal average NFL career (three years), Chad Henne is still slinging it, albeit in a very limited fashion, and Dantonio… He’s won multiple BigTen titles, won MSU its first Rose Bowl since 1988, and owns an 8-2 record against Michigan since “Lil Brother” was spoken into existence. Which brings me to my very-long-winded point.

Michigan State has won eight of the last 10 meetings against those mugs in Ann Arbor. It’s time for the Spartans to stop acting like “Lil Brother” and let their play speak for itself.

Chris Frey, who recently signed with the Carolina Panthers, is just the latest Spartan to say something unprovoked regarding Michigan football. This follows Riley Bullough’s tweet, and Plaxico Burress’ tweet before that. And while I love the passion for the school, the rivalry and all that, in my eyes, it makes us just as bad as the Wal-Mart Wolverines we despise so much.

Spartans are better than this. We should strive to be above this. As the face of the state when it comes to football, we have to set an example for those Wolverine’s to live up to! So to Spartans all across the NFL, NBA and world outside of sports, be the role models Michigan has failed to be for so long.

Oh and GO GREEN.


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Matt Bassin
Born in L.A., raised in Detroit and SoCal. Born Green and White, but am an Arizona Alumnus with my degree in Journalism. Have worked for newspapers as a writer/editor, and as an on-air talent for sports radio. Follow the Lions, Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lakers. Go Green!

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