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 imediatley 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.
In a statement, Harlan said...
"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.
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."
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."
According to Harlan, Scalley accepts the suspension based on his use of improper language.
"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."
Once the news broke that this became public, former and current Utah players came out in droves to express their support of Scalley, with the majority of them saying this is not the man they know.
Chief among them were former Utes and current NFL players Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess.
Khyiris Tonga, a former Utah commit who now plays for hated-rival BYU even tweeted out support for Scalley.
But not everyone was in full support of Scalley.
Former Ute Ryan Lacy took to twitter on late Friday night claiming that Scalley use a racial slur at him back in 2008, and that it wasn't until Lacy's senior year in 2013 that he confronted Scalley, but only received a partial apology in return.
Former cornerback Sean Smith, who played for the Utes from 2005-08 before foregoing his senior season and entering the NFL draft, also chimed in with his thoughts regarding Scalley's suspension.
Former Utah punter Tom Hackett, one of the most respected Utes in the state who's still around the program a lot, took a unique perspective about the Scalley situation. He says that while a lot of the fan base loves Scalley, they only see the surface love and that there are quite a few others who can not stand the man.
It should be noted that Scalley has been the most outspoken member of Utah's entire football program about the racial injustice and police brutality in our country following the death of George Floyd.
Scalley has been a member of Utah's football staff for the past 13, including the last five as defensive coordinator. He was also on a short list of coordinator candidates who should be the next wave of head coaches as he's lauded in football circles for his defensive gameplans and leadership abilities.