PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State football Head Coach Nick Rolovich released a statement on Monday night regarding a phone call with Cougs Wide Receiver Kassidy Woods.
Saturday’s phone call was private but the conversation was recorded by Woods.
During the call, Woods told Rolovich that he was opting out for the upcoming football season due to health concerns with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The coach responded to Woods saying he was in full support if Woods didn't want to play because of health concerns.
Rolovich then asked Woods if he was a part of the player movement, known as #WeAreUnited. Woods told Rolovich he was. The coach said the situation would be different if the wide receiver was part of the players' group.
The #WeAreUnited group consists of Pac-12 players making demands to the conference related to COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and compensation.
Based off the conversation, Woods and his dad, John, expressed they thought that meant Woods was cut from the team on the spot. Woods interpreted the coach’s message as being told to clean out his locker.
Monday night, Rolovich released his official statement about the incident.
“I spoke with Kassidy Woods in a private phone conversation last Saturday afternoon. This was before the #WeAreUnited group had released its letter of concerns. Kassidy informed me he was opting out of this season for health and safety concerns. I wanted to clarify with Kassidy that his decision was based on health and safety and reaffirm our policy related to COVID-19 and the assurance of his scholarship. Without knowing the concerns of the group, I regret that my words cautioning Kassidy have become construed as opposition. I’m proud of our players and all the Pac-12 student-athletes for using their platform, especially for matters they are passionate about. WSU football student-athletes who have expressed support for the #WeAreUnited group will continue to be welcome to all team-related activities, unless they choose to opt out for health and safety reasons.”
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott issued a letter to the #WeAreUnited group on Monday according to Sports Illustrated. A meeting between the student athlete representatives from each school and conference officials is expected to happen later this week.