Whittingham issues statement on controversial YouTube post

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 11:35 a.m. MDT

Screen shot of video, taken from YouTube Utah Baptism page.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has released a statement about a now-deleted YouTube video featuring Brian Blechen and an unidentified player with a towel over his head involved in what appears to be a mock baptism in a cold pool inside the training facility at the new Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center.

“We have addressed this issue with our players, and although it was poor judgment on their part, there was absolutely no malice or disrespect intended towards any particular religion or rite," Whittingham said.

The video was originally posted Aug. 23 during preseason camp.

Utah junior Jake Murphy responded to the controversy via Twitter, saying it was “not intended to offend any religion. It was a dare to see if the player would go all the way under the water in the ice tub."

Later in the day, following practice, Murphy declined to discuss the matter in greater detail.

“Coach Whit is answering all the questions regarding that, and regarding the Twitter stuff I felt like that was the best decision but ultimately coach Whittingham has all the comments regarding that issue,” Murphy said.

Whittingham, though, didn’t have a lot to add, either.

“No. Nothing more to say on that,” he said. “It’s context and intent and we’re satisfied with what we’ve stated so far.”

When asked if it was a distraction to the team, Whittingham said “no, not at all” and noted that the Utes had a great practice.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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