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Utah State football coach Blake Anderson apologizes for comments made about sexual assault victims

Utah State University football coach Blake Anderson talks with a referee during a game in Logan on Friday Oct 1, 2021.
Utah State University football coach Blake Anderson talks with a referee during a game in Logan on Friday Oct 1, 2021. On Friday, Anderson apologized in a statement for comments he made in August about sexual assault victims.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Following the release of an audio recording earlier this week, Utah State head football coach Blake Anderson apologized Friday for telling his players it “has never been more glamorized to be a victim” of sexual assault.

The comments were made during an August team meeting.

“I regret the words I used, and I apologize to anyone who has bravely come forward with allegations of wrongdoing,” Anderson said. “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.”

Anderson said his message to his 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,” he said.

Here’s the full statement:

Utah State University provides the following information regarding comments made in a football team meeting with representatives from the university Title IX and the Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence (SAAVI) offices. The meeting took place in August the evening after the team met with members of the USU and Logan police departments.

The meeting was an informal Q&A requested by Coach Blake Anderson that covered what those offices do, how the Title IX process works, and services and resources they offer. It was also an open forum for any questions the student-athletes had about those offices and issues related to sexual misconduct and consent. The meeting occurred a month after football team members participated in a required Title IX sexual misconduct prevention training.

After a Q&A session with Title IX and SAAVI, student-athletes watched the “Consent, It’s as Simple as Tea” video, and then representatives from Title IX and SAAVI left the meeting. Head coach Blake Anderson provided follow-up comments about what had been covered in the meeting. Some recorded comments have since been published by the media.

Coach Anderson offered the following statement:

“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 university reiterates that students who experience sexual misconduct must be able to trust in USU so they feel comfortable coming forward, whether to seek help or report. Utah State is committed to start by believing and reducing barriers to reporting. USU will be working diligently to address these issues in our campus community and will provide more information on steps taken in the future.