Brigham Young University apologizes, bans fan over racist slurs during volleyball match

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The godmother of Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson said in a tweet that Richardson, who is black, was called racist remarks during the game at BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse in Provo.

Lesa Pamplin wrote, “My goddaughter is the only black starter for the Dukes volleyball team. During yesterday’s play, she was called a ***er every time she served.”

The post continued: “She was threatened by a white man who told her to look back at the team bus. A police officer had to be put at their bank.”

BYU Athletics did not confirm details of the incident but announced that they had banned a fan from all athletic venues and posted an apology on Twitter.

“All of God’s children deserve love and respect, and BYU Athletics is fully committed to leading the way in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice of any kind and eradicating racism,” it said.

“When a student athlete or fan comes to a BYU sporting event, we expect them to be treated with love, respect and to feel safe on our campus. For this reason, BYU has banned a fan identified by Duke during the volleyball game last night from all BYU athletic venues,” the statement said.

“We sincerely apologize to Duke University and especially the student athletes who competed last night for what they went through,” the statement continued.

The statement stated that the person in question was not a BYU student, despite being in the student section.

Duke Athletics released a statement on its website announcing that they will play their next game later Saturday against Rider University at an alternate venue in Provo. The game was initially scheduled to take place at Smith Fieldhouse.

In Duke’s statement, Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King said, “Our priority is first and foremost the well-being of Duke’s student athletes.

“They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment that promotes equality and fair play. After extremely unfortunate circumstances during Friday night’s game at BYU, we have been forced to move today’s game against Rider to another location to afford both teams the safest atmosphere for competition,” the statement said. “We appreciate the support of the BYU Athletics Administration in navigating this troubling situation.

“I have been in touch with the student-athletes who have been deeply affected, will continue to support them in every way possible and look forward to continuing to connect after their return from Provo,” it continued.

NBA superstar LeBron James expressed his support for Richardson by responding to Pamplin’s tweet saying: “@LesaPamplin, tell your goddaughter to stand up straight, be proud and stay BLACK!!! We are a brotherhood and sisterhood! We’ve got her back. This isn’t a sport.”


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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