UMass suspends coach Mark Whipple for one week after using ‘rape’ in postgame comments

“I am deeply sorry for the word I used on Saturday to describe a play in our game”

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(Collegian file photo)

By Kyle DaLuz, Managing Editor

University of Massachusetts Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford suspended head coach Mark Whipple from all football activities for one week, including Saturday’s game against South Florida, after Whipple used the word “rape” in describing a play postgame against Ohio. Defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham will serve as the active head coach this week.

Whipple said the game was the worst game he’s been a part of from an officiating standpoint, and used the word “rape” to describe a play involving receiver Andy Isabella after what he perceived to be uncalled pass interference.

“We had a chance there with 16 down and they rape us, and he picks up the flag,” he said. “So our guys fought. They have a good team and they were home, and I thought our guys were certainly ready to play because we went up 14-nothing. We just have to get ready for next week. We didn’t make enough plays to beat a team like that.”

UMass released a statement on the incident Sunday night.

“On behalf of our department, I deeply apologize for the comments made by head coach Mark Whipple on Saturday after our game at Ohio,” Bamford said in the statement. “His reference to rape was highly inappropriate, insensitive and inexcusable under any circumstance. Coach Whipple’s comments don’t reflect the values of this institution, our athletics department or football program. Mark is disappointed in himself and understands his serious error in judgment.”

“I am deeply sorry for the words I used on Saturday to describe a play in our game. It is unacceptable to make use of the word ‘rape’ in the way I did and I am very sorry for doing so,” Whipple said in the statement. “It represents a lack of responsibility on my part as the leader of this program and a member of this university’s community, and I am disappointed with myself that I made this comparison when commenting after our game.”

Whipple’s comments were made available on Ohio’s team website, but omitted the sentence involving rape. It wasn’t until The Athens Messenger released the transcript early Sunday afternoon that the coach’s comments came to light.

UMass had canceled media availability for this upcoming week prior to Saturday’s game at Ohio, but Bamford announced via his Twitter page that he and Pinkham will meet the media at some point this week.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.