Former Utah State linebacker Patrick Maddox says coach Blake Anderson and his teammates retaliated against him after he recorded Anderson making denigrating remarks about sexual assault victims in a team meeting.
Maddox filed a lawsuit against Utah State and Anderson this week in federal court accusing the coach of blackballing him for helping his friend Kaytriauna Flint in her lawsuit against the school for mishandling her sexual assault allegation against a member of the football team in 2019.
In December, the Salt Lake Tribune obtained a recording of comments from Utah State police chief Earl Morris. In the recording, Morris says that players need to be careful when having sex with women who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because the women may eventually say the sex wasn’t consensual.
Anderson, meanwhile, said in another recording that “it has never been more glamorized to be a victim” of sexual assault and that some people may see football players as targets for sexual assault allegations.
Both Anderson and Morris apologized publicly for their comments and Morris resigned. In his lawsuit, Maddox said that Anderson openly mused about how he’d be viewed as a Christian following his remarks and demanded that Maddox apologize to his teammates for recording the meetings.
The coach then allegedly told Maddox that the audio had hurt his credibility, particularly in his religion. “You do realize that [this] severely harmed my reputation as a Christian, right?” Maddox recalls the coach saying.
Anderson ended the meeting by telling the player he was disappointed but would forgive him, according to the lawsuit. And he encouraged Maddox to apologize to the whole team because otherwise “it would get incredibly uncomfortable in the locker room.”
Maddox said the coach also warned him about what would happen if he didn’t. His teammates might try “to get answers out of him” in other ways. They might do whatever they “saw fit.” Anderson, Maddox said, didn’t say he’d try to prevent any violence. To him, it sounded like the coach was sanctioning it.
So two days later, Maddox apologized to the team “out of fear for his safety,” according to the lawsuit. Anderson, he said, set up the apology by telling the team that Maddox “had owned up to his mistake.”
Maddox also alleges that a member of the team’s coaching staff told him his scholarship wouldn’t be renewed in 2022. Maddox was a junior in 2021 and said his locker was broken into and vandalized late in the season. He eventually quit the team in February.
The school told the Tribune that it was “limited” in what it could say about Maddox’s suit. The school was previously investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department found that fewer than 25 of over 200 reports of sexual harassment and assault from 2013-18 went through the proper Title IX reporting protocols. During that time period, a former Utah State player sexually assaulted six women and the investigation into his crimes didn’t accelerate until the allegations were publicly reported. That players Torrey Green, is currently imprisoned.
Flint’s suit against the school was settled earlier this year and she received $500,000 in exchange for dropping her claim that the school didn’t properly handle her rape allegation. The player who allegedly sexually assaulted her is currently on the Utah State team and he hasn't been criminally charged regarding the allegation.