As his team prepares for Saturday’s bowl game in Los Angeles, Utah State head coach Blake Anderson had to quickly apologize for comments he previously made about sexual assault victims.
Anderson expressed remorse over telling his players during an August team meeting that it “has never been more glamorized to be a victim” of sexual assault. Those comments were made after the team met with local police to discuss issues such as sexual misconduct and consent.
“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,” Anderson said in the statement. “I regret the words I used, and I apologize to anyone who has bravely come forward with allegations of wrongdoing.”
His comments came to light after a recording of Anderson’s discussion with the team surfaced shortly before Utah State was set to face Oregon State in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl on Saturday.
Anderson warned players that they are “way more at risk” of being accused of sexual assault because they are athletes, and said that being a victim of sexual assault has “never been more talked about in the news [than] right now.”
“And so you don’t need to put yourself in a position that you can create a victim,” he said, via the Tribune. “And it doesn’t take a whole lot. So it scares the shit out of me.”
The recording was obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune. It was also mentioned in a lawsuit filed this week by a female student who says the school mishandled her sexual-assault report involving a football player.
“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,” Anderson’s statement continued. “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.”
Utah State is scheduled to face Oregon State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl at SoFi Stadium on Saturday.