LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – On the eve of his team’s appearance in a bowl game, Utah State head football coach Blake Anderson has apologized for a comment he made in an August team meeting regarding sexual assault victims and allegations.
During a meeting with representatives from the university Title IX and the Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence (SAAVI) offices, Anderson claimed that it’s “glamourized to be a victim” of sexual assault.
Anderson has since expressed that he made the comment in order to “magnify the message of always doing the right thing,” but acknowledged that his choice of words was inappropriate and hurtful. He continued to say that he feels strongly about victims of wrongdoing and that they should feel encouraged and protected to come forward.
The comment comes at a sensitive time as a former student at Utah State has recently alleged that the university mishandled her report after she informed officials she had been raped by a player.
Back in August, Anderson had requested the meeting take place to discuss what SAAVI offices do, giving the student-athletes an opportunity to ask questions about sexual misconduct and consent.
Police Chief Earl Morris has since resigned after making comments in the same meeting about sexual allegations in relation to women who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Anderson and released the following statement on Friday:
“I appreciate having an opportunity to address comments I made during a conversation with our team during our Fall camp, because my message to the team to always do the right thing warrants repeating whenever the opportunity presents itself. In the course of that conversation, I used a phrase regarding victims of wrongdoing to magnify that message to our team, but after reading my comments in the transcript that was released, I realize my choice of words was hurtful. I regret the words I used, and I apologize to anyone who has bravely come forward with allegations of wrongdoing. 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. Anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about this. 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 Utah State Aggies will be playing the Oregon State Beavers in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 5:30 pm MT on ABC4.