Paintgate 2015: When Will it End?

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Some say Michigan fans have struck again, spray-painting several landmarks around the Michigan State campus.

But I say the classlessness and lack of mutual respect in the rivalry has struck again.

I’m tired of the vandalism in the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry. It’s classless, childish, and costly. And before you Wolverines say “Hey, you Spartans do it too!” I know.

I hate it when State fans do this same thing to Michigan. I hate it when anyone defaces property. It’s a crime. Simple as that. Just stop it and let the game play itself out.

Somehow, people manage to support these criminal acts for the sake of rivalry:

Fans — or former athletes, like Braylon Edwards — that cheer these acts should have to foot the bill for cleanup of the paint. And you can bet that’s not cheap. The Lansing State Journal reports that the cleanup is expected to take most of Thursday and expected to cost thousands of dollars, according to MSU spokesman Jason Cody. That’s no laughing matter.

Now, an entire fan base should not be generalized with the aforementioned people. Most Wolverines do not support these acts. Michigan alum and current ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter came out against the paint:

And you can be sure two of the most prominent Spartans on the planet, head basketball coach Tom Izzo and NBA champion Draymond Green, had some choice words about the disrespectful acts:

But when will this really stop? These acts are always said to be “retaliation” because “the other school did it first.” On the other hand, this could very well be another silly “initiation” that we’ve come to expect from fraternities and sororities:

But who will buck the trend? Which fan base will take the high ground and stop with the disrespect? Rivalries are supposed to be fun, with the occasional good-natured ribbing. But doing thousands of dollars of damage to the rival school’s artwork? That’s just too far. Rivalry pranks should instead be fun and not costly:

I’m a firm believer that the best rivalries in sports reside in the collegiate landscape. There’s not much that people identify with more than their alma mater. That’s what makes college rivalries so strong and passionate—and sometimes outrageous. I consider the top two rivalries in college athletics to be Auburn vs. Alabama and Ohio State vs. Michigan. These schools hate each other so much that they respect each other. Now, these rivalries are not always clean, either. But you won’t find petty, immature (not to mention yearly) acts of disrespect in these rivalries.

It’s time for the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and their respective fan bases to bring an end to this game of “paint tag”. This should be a fun, good-hearted rivalry between two prestigious Big Ten universities, built on mutual respect for each other. Take the moral high ground and bring an end to the juvenile disrespect that has clouded this rivalry for decades.