The University of Utah football team’s defensive coordinator, Morgan Scalley, was suspended with pay on Friday after the school became aware of a text he sent that contained a racial epithet. The Athletic‘s Chris Kamrani posted Utah’s official release on Twitter, adding statements from the team’s head coach, Kyle Whittingham, and Scalley himself.
Utah athletic director Mark Harlan’s statement said he did not support any such language and that he hired an outside firm to look further into the situation.
“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.”
Whittingham’s release said he was shocked and angry to learn Scalley sent a text message in 2013 that included a racial epithet. He added he considers the situation a very serious issue, but also knows Scalley well and doesn’t believe the defensive coordinator is someone who truly holds racist opinions.
Scalley’s release admitted he had sent a text message in 2013 that he since regrets. He also said he apologized to the family of the person who he sent the text messages to, soon after it happened.
While Scalley has claimed his text message was a one-time thing, a former Utes player alleged otherwise. Former Utah defensive back Ryan Lacy tweeted that Scalley called him a racial epithet as well. Lacy says the defensive coach used the slur back in 2008.
“I, too, was called a racial slur (N-word) by this man in 2008, confronted him my senior year 2013. Held onto it 5 years and Got a half ass apology, more on terms of an excuse. He is a great coach, but needs to be a better Man. Truth hurts. God bless.”
The allegations against Scalley and the school’s response came on the same day when a group of former players from the Iowa Hawkeyes came forward with claims head coach Kirk Ferentz’s program treated black players different from white players.
Offensive lineman James Daniels and several others also claimed there was a culture in Iowa City where black players felt they had to change their entire personalities in order to fit in.
Because Lacy’s accusations came after the university announced its investigation into Scalley, the school has not issued a response.