In a stunning announcement by Utah athletic director Mark Harlan on Friday, Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley has been suspended indefinitely from the football program. According to reports, Scalley had used a racial slur in a text message exchange with a recruit back in 2013.
Scalley openly acknowledges the use of the word, admitting he “made a terrible mistake.” He also said that immediately following his use of the word, he immediately reached out to the recruit and his family to offer his apologies for his mistake.
In a statement, Scalley said...
"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."
Harlan first received word of the text message on Wednesday night and immediately contacted his "campus partners and President Watkins," to which they decided that an outside firm would investigate the matter and that Scalley would be suspended.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was also made aware of the incident. While he did not condone the use of the language, he did say "this incident is inconsistent with the character and conduct of the person I have known and worked closely with for more than two decades."
While the news hit the University of Utah and its football program like a ton of bricks, and according to most, came out of absolutely nowhere, former and current players came out in droves to show support of Scalley.
None of them have condoned the use of the word, and a lot of them don't believe that Scalley is a racist and they have all attested to his character and the person they believe him to be. Chief among those standing up for Scalley are recent Utes and 2020 NFL draftees Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess, both of whom took to social media on Friday to show their support of Scalley.
They weren't the only ones as to speak on Scalley's behalf, as multiple former Utah recruits who signed with hated rival BYU took to Twitter to express their support.
Among them were Jaylon Vickers, Chaz Ah You, Khyiris Tonga and Isaiah Kaufusi, who shared a touching story on social media how Scalley spoke to a group of troubled youth back in 2004 and how those words really made a difference in his life.
However, not everyone can support the claims that Scalley is an upstanding citizen.
There were numerous former players who came out against Scalley, including three former Utes in Ryan Lacy, Sean Smith and Kenric Young.
Lacy claims that Scalley called him a racial slur back in 2008, and then confronted the Utah DC in 2013, to which he only received an apology that was more like an excuse.
Former punter Tom Hackett, although not accusing Scalley of anything or even taking a side, did tweet out that there are plenty of people who do NOT like Scalley as much as the outside public thinks they do.
With so many people speaking on the issue, it appears that depending on the outcome of the investigation, Whittingham will have a very difficult decision to make regarding Scalley's employment.
Does Whittingham fire Scalley for the incident seven years ago, thus likely ending Scalley's chances at becoming a future head coach in the sport? Or does he take into consideration all of the positive reaffirmations by Utah players about the Scalley's character and keep him as defensive coordinator?
Either way, the precedent about to be set by Whittingham, Harlan and Utah's bigwigs will sure to have a ripple effect on the rest of the country.