Sports

Steve Addazio: CSU Rams football moving on from “slanderous, inaccurate” allegations


Steve Addazio is moving on. And pushing forward.

But if the new CSU Rams football coach has forgiven his critics, especially the ones whose accusations forced the university to hire lawyers and investigate his program, the Daz certainly hasn’t forgotten them, either.

“They were investigated, conclusions were made,” Addazio said Wednesday in his first Zoom news conference with independent media since the completion of the aforementioned investigations.

“And in the conclusions, there was no justification for the slanderous comments or the inaccurate accusations on either front: COVID or racial insensitivity. That’s what was concluded in an investigation. So that’s done. That’s over. And you move forward.”

Published reports using mostly anonymous sources from ESPN.com and the Fort Collins Coloradoan in late July and early August cited potential violations of coronavirus protocol within the Rams football program, and presented allegations of abusive and racist behavior among current and former CSU football coaches.

University president Joyce McConnell hired the Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell to probe the athletic department in response. After roughly two months, the firm released a report that largely absolved Addazio, who was hired only this past December, of most of the accusations.

Husch Blackwell concluded, based on interviews with CSU students and staff, that issues with safety precautions regarding coronavirus were presumably because of inconsistencies and miscommunication and not actual malice. The firm found that racially insensitive language was more prevalent under ex-football coach Mike Bobo and former Bobo assistants who are no longer with the department than with the current regime.

The report was critical of the CSU’s handling of racially sensitive topics as a whole under the leadership of athletic director Joe Parker, recommending further training for current employees and independent oversight on racial issues outside Parker’s jurisdiction. It was also critical of a culture in CSU athletics in which some students and staff said they felt that their voices or concerns had been, and would continue to be, ignored by Parker.

“We’ve got great relationships with these players,” Addazio continued. “There’s a love and a trust. I’m responsible for 120-some players. Everybody’s not going to be happy all the time. I’m responsible for 50-some staff people. And you keep moving forward and you hope that you’re building love and trust.”

Nearly a dozen current Rams football players reached out to The Post this summer to refute the allegations in the earlier stories. McConnell declined comment and deferred to previously published statements when approached by The Post.

“I think everything we’ve gone through can, without doubt, make us stronger,” Addazio said. “And I like to always look at the silver lining. I believe that we are a stronger program and a closer program. I didn’t say a perfect one. But stronger and closer. And will continue that direction as we move forward.”

Mother Nature, meanwhile, is making those moves a little trickier. The Rams were forced to cancel their scheduled Wednesday morning practice because of poor air quality in Fort Collins. The Rams also had to cancel a 70-play scrimmage on Saturday.

“That’s a big …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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