Colorado State suspends football activities after allegations of 'racism and verbal abuse'

Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker said Friday that he had suspended football activities after learning of “extremely troubling allegations of racism and verbal abuse” in the football program.

Parker’s statement comes days after Colorado State players and staffers reached out to media outlets to detail what they felt were shortcomings in the way the school was executing the coronavirus protocols put in place to protect athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, we learned of some extremely troubling allegations of racism and verbal abuse from CSU’s athletic administration generally and in the football program specifically.

Colorado State University is committed to being an anti-racist university, and we will not tolerate any behavior or climate that goes against that core value. Moreover, CSU Athletics is committed to the health and well-being of student-athletes above all other priorities, and this includes their mental health.  We believe it is our responsibility to make sure that all student-athletes feel welcomed and valued as members of an inclusive athletics community.

I have consulted with President McConnell about these new allegations, which obviously deeply concern her as well.  Effective immediately, and for the best interests of our student-athletes, I am pausing all football-related activities indefinitely.  This includes practices, workouts, and team meetings.  I have also asked President McConnell to expand the independent investigation she announced on Tuesday to include a comprehensive review of our athletic department and football program specifically related to allegations of racism and verbal abuse. While we have been working hard towards playing football this fall, the holistic well-being of our student-athletes is our unequivocal top priority.  We must and will address these allegations before we focus on playing football.”

The football program is currently led by former Boston College coach Steve Addazio. He came to the school after he was fired by BC following the 2019 season.

Addazio was accused by unnamed Colorado State athletic department members in a Coloradoan story of not always following the school’s mask-wearing protocol. The independent investigation mentioned in the Colorado State statement was launched by the school’s president in response to the multiple stories about the athletic department’s alleged handling of its coronavirus protocols.

The school previously had to suspend all football activities in late July because eight players tested positive for coronavirus. At the time of that suspension, CSU’s football program noted that it was expecting to return to training “within” two weeks.

Colorado State is investigating verbal abuse and racism within the football program. (Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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