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UMass football coach suspended for ‘rape’ comment while slamming officials

UMass head football coach Mark Whipple has been suspended after he said his team was "raped" by officials when referring to a call in Saturday's game against Miami University. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

University of Massachusetts - Amherst officials suspended head football coach Mark Whipple and ordered him to take sensitivity training following his rant about officials this weekend, Fox News reported.

The reason for his reprimand is that Whipple used the word "rape" when expressing his frustrations over a non-call he says was missed by referees in his team's game against Ohio University over the weekend.

What are the details?

In describing UMass's 58-42 loss on Saturday, Whipple explained, "We had a chance there with 16 down and they rape us, and he picks up the flag," referring to a play where the coach believed a pass interference penalty should have been called.

Whipple went on to accuse officials of seeking "revenge" on his team.

The next day, UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford issued a statement saying, "On behalf of our department, I deeply apologize for the comments made by head coach Mark Whipple on Saturday after our game at Ohio. 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," Bamford continued. "Mark is disappointed in himself and understands his serious error in judgment."

Whipple is suspended for one week without pay, will miss the game against South Florida on Saturday, and is ordered to participate in sensitivity training.

Did the coach apologize?

Whipple apologized for his comments in a statement Sunday:

I am deeply sorry for the word 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. 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.

According to ESPN, Whipple caught himself in later interviews on Saturday, saying UMass was “absolutely mugged” during the play but officials missed the call.

Defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham will stand in as head coach for the game against South Florida this week. Whipple is in the fifth year of his second stint leading UMass, and his record is 14-40 with the team since 2014. UMass has a 2-4 record this season.

One last thing…
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