Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio publicly called out ESPN reporter Dan Murphy on Tuesday night.
Dantonio was angry that a photo of Michigan State’s tribute to former Spartans punter Mike Sadler was used with a story Murphy wrote and tweeted that did not involve Sadler, who was killed in a July 2016 car accident. The story in question was about William Strampel — the ex-boss of disgraced former Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar — who was arrested Monday.
Murphy explained earlier in the day that the photo involving Sadler’s tribute was an automatically generated stock image that was unintentionally included in a tweet. He apologized for its use and the photo was changed.
That's a stock photo that generates automatically when we send out a tweet. It's not included in the story and certainly was not put there intentionally. I apologize if anyone was offended by it. https://t.co/UUKipyzqZu
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) March 27, 2018
It’s unclear if Dantonio saw Murphy’s apology. But about five hours after the clarification, Dantonio called out Murphy.
“@DanMurphyESPN has stepped OVER the line,” Dantonio tweeted to his 149,000 followers. “This is totally unacceptable. M. Sadler is a deceased player whose memory was being recognized with his #3 in the Spartan logo during his life celebration at Spartan Stadium. He was a decorated Academic All-American. #RIP3 #Inexcusable”
.@DanMurphyESPN has stepped OVER the line. This is totally unacceptable. M. Sadler is a deceased player whose memory was being recognized with his #3 in the Spartan logo during his life celebration at Spartan Stadium. He was a decorated Academic All-American. #RIP3 #Inexcusable https://t.co/vTeQUQ0hbb
— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) March 27, 2018
Tensions have been high between the Michigan State athletic department and ESPN since late January. ESPN published a story Jan. 26 detailing a widespread culture of mishandled assault allegations inside the Spartans athletic department, including by Dantonio and men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo.
Murphy was a contributor on that report and also covered the Nassar trial for ESPN in January.