Duke volleyball game in Utah moved after racist abuse hurled at Black player


March 14, 2022; Dayton, OH, USA; NCAA logo seen on a microphone during practice the day before the start of the top four of the 2022 NCAA tournament at the UD Arena. Mandatory credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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Aug. 27 (Reuters) – Saturday’s Duke University women’s volleyball game was moved to an alternate venue in Provo, Utah after racist comments were thrown at a black player out of the crowd during Friday’s game with BYU, school officials said.

The incident prompted BYU to apologize and ban a fan identified as the culprit.

Lesa Pamplin, godmother of the Black Duke player, wrote on Twitter that while playing her 19-year-old goddaughter, Rachel Richardson, she made racist comments every time she served.

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“She was threatened by a white man who told her to look at the team bus. A police officer should be placed at their bank,” Pamplin tweeted. She confirmed the account in an interview with Reuters.

“Many adults have abandoned my goddaughter,” Pamplin said in a statement. “Every American should be outraged that a young lady was subjected to hateful, degrading language.”

Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King said in a statement that “extremely unfortunate circumstances” had forced it to change the venue for Saturday’s game against Rider “to provide both teams with the safest atmosphere for competition.” She said players should always be able to perform in an “inclusive, anti-racist environment.”

In a statement, BYU said it was fully committed to eradicating racism and had banned a Duke-identified fan from all BYU Athletic venues.

In a subsequent email to Reuters, BYU said that after the game, officials spent hours watching videos of the event and speaking with event management and security personnel.

BYU said that when “the conduct of last night was initially reported by Duke, not a single person was noticed and despite the best efforts of BYU security and event management, they were unable to identify an perpetrator of the racist comments.”

After the game, BYU said: “A person was identified by Duke who they believed was defamatory and engaged in problematic behavior. That is the person who was banned.”

The school said the perpetrator was in the BYU student section but was not a BYU student.

BYU said Duke players “felt unsafe and hurt, and we were unable to adequately address that during the game. We sincerely apologize for that and are investigating our processes and practices to do everything whatever it is in our power to make sure nothing like this happens again.”

The incident led to condemnations on social media. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted in support of Richardson: “We’ve got her back. This isn’t a sport.”

Duke did not immediately respond to requests for additional comments about the incident. BYU police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Duke won Saturday’s game against Rider 3-1, their first win of the season. Richardson led the team with three aces.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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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