A group of Colorado State players issued a statement Saturday on behalf of the team opposing allegations of intimidation and racism against coach Steve Addazio and his staff.
The statement comes a day after the university suspended all team activities and expanded the scope of an ongoing investigation into intimidation over COVID-19 protocols to include concerns about racism and verbal abuse within the athletics department and football program.
The school had hired law firm Husch Blackwell to investigate the program after numerous coaches, players and sports medicine staff told ESPN and Colorado that players were instructed to mask COVID-19 symptoms because they could lose playing time if they contracted the virus while school staff said inconsistencies, misinformation and negligence about COVID-19 protocols had compromised the safety of student-athletes.
On Friday, Colorado said a future story would detail allegations of “racial insensitivity and emotional and verbal abuse between coaches and athletics administrators,” prompting the CSU investigation to expand.
On Saturday, however, a group calling itself CSU United (#CSUunited) said the allegations were false. It claims to be a senior-led group, but with “the support of the whole team”.
The letter says the allegations have “created an unfair and unstable environment” within the team. He also claimed that any allegations of racism or verbal abuse by the training staff were false.
“On the contrary, our experience since the first day of Coach Addazio has been positive, welcoming and focused on our development as a student athlete,” she says. “To be absolutely clear, we have not experienced any rationally insensitive comments to our teammates from the athletics department or coaching staff.”
The letter also claims that the team has “thrived” under Addazio and has not been practiced under a “harmful culture”.
Brian White, an assistant in the state of Colorado, also tweeted a statement of support with the words “the truth will set you free.”
Numerous sources within the CSU football program told ESPN on Saturday the letter #CSununited does not have the full support of the team.
Last week, 27 Colorado State footballers missed the team’s most recent practice with COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure. After the team’s activities were halted after the eight players tested positive, some players and coaches told ESPN that they viewed Addazio’s plan to return “early” from a planned 14-day quarantine as advised and unsafe. On Sunday, the team had 11 positive cases. The results of Monday’s reprint for the entire team have not been released.
McConnell said the school’s initial investigation, which began Thursday before Friday’s expansion, follows concerns about protocols around COVID-19. The school hired the same firm, Husch Blackwell of Kansas City, Missouri, that Iowa used to investigate its racial bias within the program last month.
“I am deeply concerned when I hear about these new allegations, and I have already expanded the scope of the investigation,” McConnell said in a statement Friday after concerns about racism and verbal abuse were revealed. “Colorado State University is a wealthy anti-racist university and a loving anti-racist community. We will not tolerate a climate that makes every member of this university community feel unwanted or unappreciated. On the contrary, we we will expose it and decide finish it immediately “.
McConnell also echoed an earlier statement pledging that any player, coach or staff member who comes forward will not be a victim of retaliation in the investigation.
Anthoney Hill, the former school player development coach and her initial defender in the early 1990s, said he was terminated after Addazio was hired as head coach in December because he would express concerns about him and his son’s employment. his, Louie Addazio, and Urban Meyer’s Groom, Corey Dennis. Meyer reportedly assisted CSU in its search, which led to the hiring of Addazio, Meyer’s friend and one of his former aides.
Hill arrived in 2015 under former coach Mike Bobo and held his position for about a month after the arrival of Addazio.
In his response to the university graduation letter, Hill also told Parker that he was concerned about the salaries of African-American coaches on staff compared to white coaches.
Hill’s letter described a harmful culture and suggested that he would witness racially insensitive comments under Bobo and worry about a similar environment under Addazio.
In a January letter sent to ESPN, athletics director Joe Parker responded to Hill’s letter saying his claims appeared to include former staff members under Bobo. Parker also said in a letter in March to Hill that he worked to keep him on staff by offering to make him an $ 48,000-a-year academic advisor, with the possibility of securing the $ 53,000 salary he would earn for his staff. Bobo. The letter also said Addazio eventually met with Hill and promised to keep him in his $ 53,000 player development role before the school withdrew the offer when Hill demanded more money.
Parker claims in the March letter that Hill told him that the program should have “accepted the consequences” by talking about his experiences if his salary requests were not met.
“I’m most concerned about your behavior in allowing CSU Athletics to become an environment where coaches can display toxic masculinity, as well as make racially insensitive comments about black players on your watch,” Hill Parker wrote after he was completed in January. “Also, the behavior of a new football coach, who tells graduate assistants within days by letting them know that he ‘does not give a f — for their feelings’ is contradictory to being’ committed to development. holistic of student-athletes … and of creating a culture where students thrive. “”
Another source working closely with Addazio confirmed to ESPN the language he used in a meeting with the graduate assistants.