Tensions were already high for the next edition of the Michigan-Michigan State matchup after two Michigan Wolverines were jumped in the tunnel following a 29-7 obliteration of the Michigan State Spartans. Adding to the complications is a Michigan radio host slyly implying that something similar could happen to Michigan fans who attend.
During a discussion last week revolving around their October 21 showdown having a late start, the Detroit-based host of The Mike Valenti Show with Rico veered into some dark territory. Radio host Mike Valenti said the following:
“Here’s the PSA I’m offering and it’s not hyperbole. I’m being real with you because people are nuts and I don’t condone what all people do. But I’m just telling you friendly advice, if you’re a Michigan fan, don’t be there. Don’t bring the women and children. Don’t be there. Don’t show up in your egregious butter themed T-shirt. Don’t be there. It’s the equivalent of playing stupid games and winning stupid prizes.”
Added Valenti, “That is going to be the most hostile environment this rivalry has ever had. Ever. Ever... It will be a tinder box. Don’t be there.”
No longer hiding his intentions, Valenti continued his violent fantasy. “Find something else to do somewhere other than East Lansing. If I were a Michigan fan, I would never be at that game. Because there are decent odds that you’ll be eating a battery.”
Implying that opposing fans will be smacked by flying batteries and targeted by fans just for supporting a program is wildly reckless to do over the air. I won’t pretend to know how civil Michigan and Michigan State communities are towards one another, but they’ve been relatively peaceful up until now. The most oblivious aspect of Valenti’s warning was him reading the ad for an injury attorney before launching into his fugazi concern for the safety of Michigan fans at a football game.
Valenti proceeded to compare the upcoming matchup to being an opposing fan at an Eagles home game. Valenti and his co-host Rico Beard then fumed over Charles Woodson jerseys and advised them against sitting near the tunnel.
The Wolverines and Spartans have played 115 times before, but it is jarring to hear a Michigan State alum contemplating violence against opposing fans just a year after Michigan players were attacked. He even preemptively played the “well, “what was s(he) wearing” card for fans bold enough to wear Michigan colors. Something tells me he didn’t listen to his own advice and by wearing maize and blue to Michigan Stadium for previous rivalry games.
Against the backdrop of last season’s assault is a recent alcohol bill signed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In mid-July, Whitmer signed state Senate Bill 247, which allowed for the licensing of all Michigan public universities to sell alcohol at select games up to an hour before kickoffs. However, Valenti contemplating violence was wholly unnecessary and counterproductive unless the point was to keep Michigan fans away.
Later in the segment, Beard lamented how frustrating it must have been for Wolverine fans during their 22-point win because they wound up kicking too many field goals. If you looked up coping techniques in a Psychology 101 textbook, this rationalization from a 40-year-old man would be on page one. In the all-time series, Michigan has won 72 of their precious 115 matchups and lost only 38. It’s reasonable to expect Michigan State would feel some type of way about Wolverines, but there’s got to be a better way than goon threats posed as hypotheticals. Drunk college football fans can get rowdy, but siccing them on opposing fans like they’re wild dogs is the type of thing we all hate about sports talk radio.