USU football coach says he regrets telling team it has ‘never been more glamorized’ to be a sexual assault victim
Dec 17, 2021, 12:08 PM | Updated: 5:00 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah State University’s football coach said Friday he regrets telling his team over the summer that it “has never been more glamorized to be a victim” and players are a “target to some.”
Head coach Blake Anderson apologized to victims Friday in a statement posted on the school’s website.
Anderson said his message to players was to do the right thing and he realized in reading a transcript of his comments – released to the public this week – that they were hurtful.
“I regret the words I used, and I apologize to anyone who has bravely come forward with allegations of wrongdoing,” Anderson said. “We have to do everything we can to encourage and protect anybody who has been the victim of a wrong, or whose personal rights have been violated.”
His expression of regret comes a day after USU Police Chief Earl Morris resigned amid outcry to his warning to football players, captured in a different recording, that Latter-day Saint women may falsely report sexual assault.
The recordings secretly taken during one meeting between the football team and police, and another between the team and university employees, are part of a Utah State University student’s lawsuit against the school.
The KSL investigators first reported on the lawsuit and the coach and former police chief’s comments Tuesday.
Kaytri Flint alleges the school has not made good on its promises to do better after a 2020 U.S. Department of Justice investigation found reports of sexual assault went unaddressed on the Logan campus.
The university has said the comments in the audio aren’t consistent with the school’s values or the training it conducts.
“Students and employees should feel confident that when they report sexual misconduct, the university will respond without bias,” the school said in a statement.
The later conversation where Anderson made his comments occurred at the team’s fall camp and included representatives from the university’s Title IX and the Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence (SAAVI) offices, the coach said.
“Anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about this,” the statement reads. Giving victims a safe platform to address wrongs they’ve suffered is always the right thing to do, and something I’ll always stand for.”
The meeting was a question-and-answer session about how the university’s Title IX process works, and included a video on consent, the university said Friday. Title IX is a federal law barring sex discrimination in schools and requiring them to investigate and resolve student complaints.
After students watched a video on consent and the school employees left the meeting, Anderson followed up with further comments, the university said.
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