Brigham Young University issued an apology Saturday following an incident in which a fan made racist comments to a female player during a women’s volleyball game Friday night.
The game, between BYU and Duke University, was held at BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse on the Provo, Utah campus. During the game, a fan allegedly called Duke player Rachel Richardson, who is black, a racial slur.
Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, tweeted about the incident first, writing, “My goddaughter is the only black starter on the Dukes’ volleyball team. While playing yesterday she was called n—– every time she served.”
Pamplin shared that Richardson, a 19-year-old sophomore from Ellicott City, Maryland, was “threatened by a white man” who told the athlete to “watch out for her when she went to the team bus.” Pamplin said she later assigned a police officer to her to stand by the Duke player’s bench.
BYU, a private university sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, apologized a day after the game and also announced that it had banned fans from its sports facilities in a statement on its official website. Twitter bill. The statement clarified that the person was not a BYU student.
“All of God’s children deserve love and respect, and BYU Athletics is fully committed to leading the abandonment of prejudiced attitudes and actions of any kind and to eradicate racism,” the statement began.
“To say that we are extremely discouraged by the actions of a small number of fans at last night’s volleyball game at Smith Fieldhouse between BYU and Duke is not strong enough language. We will not tolerate such behavior, specifically the use of racial discrimination”. insult, at any of our sporting events,” he continued. “It is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics has a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior.”
Richardson herself spoke through a long published statement to his Twitter on Sunday afternoon, using the hashtag #morethanavolleyballplayer. He started by introducing himself, then detailed the events exactly as they unfolded.
“On Friday night at our game against Brigham Young University, my African-American teammates and I were racially harassed and harassed throughout the game,” he said in the statement. “Insults and comments turned into threats that made us feel unsafe. Officials and the BYU coaching staff were made aware of the incident during the game, but did not take the necessary steps to stop the unacceptable behavior and create a safe environment.” .
Richardson said her intention was not to “call BYU,” but to “call them,” noting a positive anti-racism seminar she and her fellow Duke athletes participated in.
The statement is complete in your account:
“We sincerely apologize to Duke University and especially its student-athletes who competed last night for what they experienced,” the statement added.
Duke later said its Saturday game against Rider was moved from BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse to a different location in Provo in a statement they issued after Friday’s game.
“First and foremost, our priority is the well-being of Duke student-athletes,” said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King. “They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive and anti-racist environment that promotes equality and fair play.
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“I have been in contact with the student-athletes who have been deeply affected, will continue to support them in any way possible, and look forward to connecting more when they return from Provo,” King’s statement concluded.
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe spoke to the fans at the relocated venue before the follow-up game.
“I want you to know that this morning I visited with the young athlete from the Duke team and her coach. If you had known her, you would have loved her, but you don’t know her, so you don’t feel that.” As children of God, we are responsible, it is our mission to treat everyone with respect,” she said.
Pamplin then detailed in a follow-up tweet that not even “a damn adult” protected his goddaughter.
“For too long, people have been subjected to racist slurs, taunts, and threats like the unfortunate incident that happened to my goddaughter, Rachel Richardson, at BYU. It’s unfortunate that this incident only received attention after I tweeted about it, Pamplin said in an official statement.