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Utah football’s Morgan Scalley keeps job after suspension for racial slur - The Washington Post
Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will remain on staff but will take a pay cut and must undergo diversity training after being suspended for using a racial slur in a 2013 text message. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
By Michael Errigo
Reporter covering high school sports.
Email Bio FollowJuly 1 at 9:37 PM
Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will remain on staff following an external investigation into allegations that he used a racial slur in a text message in 2013.
In a letter released Wednesday by Athletic Director Mark Harlan and head coach Kyle Whittingham, the program announced Scalley would keep his job, but his salary would be cut in half and his contract would be reduced from a multiyear pact to a one-year deal. The former Utah safety is also no longer the team’s head coach-in-waiting.
“My message is simple but sincere and that is I am extremely sorry,” Scalley said on a conference call Wednesday. “First and foremost, let me be clear: I am against racism of any kind. And I am determined to take an active role at the university and in my community of being part of the solution and change.”
Scalley was suspended June 5 after images surfaced on social media showing him using a racial slur in a text message. The school hired law firm Husch Blackwell two days later to conduct an investigation, and Scalley admitted to sending the text message.
The investigation featured interviews with 35 individuals, mostly current or former players. A majority of the former players expressed surprise at the initial reports and said they did not view Scalley as racist. However, one former player alleged that, before 2013, Scalley used the n-word toward him at practice. Scalley denied that.
“The racist language used by Coach Scalley is inexcusable and harmful to all, particularly to those communities identified in the report,” Harlan and Whittingham wrote, per the Deseret News. “We believe, and expect, that he will learn and lead, while owning his past conduct, to rebuild trust, reconcile harm caused and make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes.”
Scalley’s salary, previously $1.1 million annually after he agreed to a lucrative extension in December, will revert to his 2018 compensation of $525,000.
Scalley will also be expected to work with the university’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team as “a key partner in addressing issues of racism and bias” in the athletic department. The department is also pledging $100,000 of the money that would have gone to Scalley to the United Together Against Hate Group, a student-athlete forum.
On Wednesday’s call, Scalley said he addressed the entire team the day before via video conference.
“I expressed to them the complete embarrassment I feel for having hurt them and my fellow colleagues in any way,” he said.
The coach acknowledged that he might have to earn back the respect and trust of his players.
“Whether they are grateful I’m back, whether they’re hurt that I’m back, it’s my job to repair any damage that I’ve done, and I look forward to that opportunity,” he said.
Scalley, an all-American for the Utes as a safety in 2004, has been coaching at Utah since 2006.
“I love what I do, and I’m very passionate about what I do, and it would’ve killed me to have had to walk away,” he said. “I never want to walk away. This is the place I love.”
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