SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley has been suspended indefinitely for a text he sent back in 2013 that contained a racial slur.
Athletic director Mark Harlan learned of the text on Wednesday and contracted an outside firm to determine whether or not this was an isolated incident.
While the investigation is being conducted, Harlan decided to suspend Scalley, who has been considered by many to be the heir apparent to Kyle Whittingham.
Scalley, 40, played for the Utes from 2001-2004, and has been on the coaching staff since 2008. Scalley was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2016.
Scalley made the following statement Friday:
“In 2013 I made a terrible mistake. I used a racial slur in a text message. This language is offensive and hurtful to not only the African-American community, but to all. Immediately after sending it, I apologized to the recipient and his family.
I am also heartbroken over the potential breach of trust with my fellow coaches, and with the young men in our program, both past and present.
I am truly sorry, and I own up to the hurtful effects of my choice. Through my actions and words going forward, I will demonstrate that my use of that slur in 2013 does not reflect or define who I am or what I stand for. My action is indefensible and I will use my voice and position to bring about meaningful and much-needed change.
I accept the University’s suspension, and will use it as a time to reflect on my insensitive comment from 2013 and how I intend to listen and grow from this situation.I am completely against racism, and this will never happen again.”
Mark Harlan issued the following statement Friday:
“On Wednesday night, I was made aware of a social media post that referenced a 2013 text message that included racist language, sent by our football program’s defensive coordinator, Morgan Scalley. I initiated conversations with our campus partners, including President Watkins, and we agreed to have an outside firm review this matter, to seek further details and determine whether this was an isolated incident.
Coach Scalley and I have spoken. He is very contrite and acknowledged that the text was sent and that it did include a derogatory and painful word.
The use of any form of racist language is not only antithetical to our policies and our values, but it is an affront to all of us, especially our African-American community members. While the review of this matter is being conducted, I have placed Morgan on suspension effective immediately.”
Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham also issued a statement:
“I was disappointed and shocked to learn this week of a text message sent by Morgan Scalley in 2013 that contained a racial slur. I take very seriously the hurt, pain and anger felt by African-Americans, and the power of words to inflict or deepen that pain. Although this incident is inconsistent with the character and conduct of the person I have known and worked closely with for more than two decades, Morgan’s use of racist language is a very serious matter and I am supportive of the suspension while a more thorough outside review is conducted.”
Former Utah safety Ryan Lacy tweeted that he had been called the “n-word” by Scalley during his tenure with the Utes.
However, many former Utah players have come to Scalley’s defense on social media, including Terrell Burgess and Julian Blackmon, who were both taken in the 2020 NFL Draft.
BYU defensive lineman Khyris Tonga also shared his thoughts on Twitter.
The Utes football team is scheduled to begin voluntary individual workouts on June 15th.