Do not touch Mel Tucker’s head. That should go unsaid, but apparently there are people out there who need a reminder on how to act before, during and after football games.
Saturday’s intra-state rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State did not go in the visitors favor. The Spartans not only lost to the Wolverines by 22, but their only touchdown of the game came in the first quarter.
It was a rough outing. Although it was only Tucker’s first loss to Jim Harbaugh during his three years coaching in East Lansing, his team fell to 3-5 on the year after he received a massive, $95-million contract extension last Novemeber.
While the losing record is one thing, Michigan State’s actions after the game are of even greater concern. Michigan has only one tunnel from the field to both home and visiting team locker rooms and it has led to quite a few pregame, halftime and postgame scuffles throughout the years.
On Saturday, following the loss, the Spartans engaged a Wolverines player in the tunnel and beat him up. It wasn’t a brawl, it wasn’t a kerfuffle— it was a full-blown, singular attack on one player that warranted a police investigation, as Harbaugh mentioned in his postgame press conference.
Tucker was also involved in a physical altercation of his own prior to the one in the tunnel, though on a much lesser scale.
Mel Tucker swiped at a Michigan fan who touched his head on his way into the locker room.
As Michigan State football made its way off of the field, video shows a full-grown Michigan fan (not a child, as the caption would suggest) reach out over the railing and touch Tucker’s head. In response, understandably, Tucker turns back toward the fan and swipes in his direction.
He first slaps the man’s hand away, making contact with his arm, before appearing to say something at the fan and point in his direction.
In this case, the fan was completely out of line. Fans often forget how to act after a win, especially in a rivalry situation, and Saturday’s head-touch was the perfect example of what not to do. Tucker’s reaction was warranted.