BYU bans fan who yelled racial slur at Black volleyball player on Duke team – NPR

BYU bans fan who yelled racial slur at Black volleyball player on Duke team - NPR

This April 19, 2016 file photo shows a welcome sign to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. BYU says it banned a fan who yelled racist slurs at a Duke University volleyball player this weekend.

Rick Bowmer/AP


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Rick Bowmer/AP


This April 19, 2016 file photo shows a welcome sign to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. BYU says it banned a fan who yelled racist slurs at a Duke University volleyball player this weekend.

Rick Bowmer/AP

College volleyball’s opening weekend ended with a fan banned from Brigham Young University’s athletic facilities and statements expressing regret from two universities and Utah’s governor after a Black player on Duke’s volleyball team faced racist slurs during a game in Provo, Utah.

Duke’s volleyball team — including starter Rachel Richardson, a sophomore from Ellicott City, Md. – traveled to Utah to participate in a multi-day tournament at BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse.

There, during Friday’s game against BYU, Richardson was called the slur “every time she was on duty,” said Lesa Pamplin, a Texas-based attorney and Richardson’s godmother, who attended the game and described the events on Twitter.

“She was threatened by a white male who told her to watch her go back to the team bus,” Pamplin said.

After the Duke players complained, a police officer was positioned near the Duke bench for the remainder of the match, according to Richardson’s father, Marvin Richardson. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Richardson expressed disappointment that BYU officials did not do more.

“Why wasn’t the fan ejected? Once the notification was made to officials and the coaching staff was made aware, why wasn’t something done then?” he said.

“Every American should be outraged that a young woman was subjected to hateful, degrading language, and we should be even more outraged that it took a tweet from me in Tarrant County, Texas, to expose this incident,” wrote Pamplin, who is a candidate in Fort Worth judicial election, in a later statement released Saturday.

In a pair of statements, BYU Athletics apologized for the incident and said the fan had been banned from all campus athletic fields.

“We will not tolerate such behavior. Specifically, the use of a racial slur at any of our sporting events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics maintains a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior,” the school said.

The offending fan was not a student, school officials said, although the person was sitting in a student section. About 5,500 people attended.

“When last night’s behavior was initially reported by Duke, no individual was alerted and despite the efforts of BYU security and incident management, they were unable to identify a perpetrator of racial slurs. It wasn’t until after the game that an individual was identified by Duke. , who they believed uttered the slurs and exhibited problematic behaviors,” the school said in a second statement.

On Saturday, Duke announced that its subsequent game had been moved to a different location away from the BYU campus “to provide both teams with the safest atmosphere for competition.”

Players “should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment that promotes equality and fair play,” Duke athletic director Nina King said in a statement. “We appreciate the support of BYU athletic administration as we navigate this troubling situation.”

Late Saturday, Utah’s Republican governor called the incident “terrible news.”

“I am disgusted that this behavior is happening and deeply saddened if others did not step in to stop it,” Governor Spencer Cox wrote on Twitter. “As a society we need to do more to create an atmosphere where racist scumbags like this never feel comfortable attacking others.”

Before BYU’s game Saturday, Tom Holmoe, BYU’s athletic director, spoke to the crowd and urged fans to support their team without”[crossing] the line” into harmful language.

“As children of God, we are responsible. It’s our mission to love one another and treat everyone with respect, and that didn’t happen. We fell way short,” Holmoe said.

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