Duke volleyball player says BYU officials failed to stop racist heckling during game in newly released statement – CNN

Duke volleyball player says BYU officials failed to stop racist heckling during game in newly released statement - CNN

“Friday night in our game against Brigham Young University my fellow African American teammates and I were targeted and racially heckled the entire game,” Richardson tweeted. “The slurs and comments grew into threats that made us feel unsafe.”

Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, at first tweeted about the incident Saturday, accusing the school of allowing the behavior without intervening.

“My goddaughter is the only black starter for the Dukes volleyball team. While playing yesterday, she was called a ***er every time she served,” Pamplin’s tweet read.

The incident led to an apology from BYU, the school banning a fan and Duke changing the venues of the team’s next game. It also caught the attention of NBA superstar LeBron Jameswho tweeted: “We are brotherhood and sisterhood! We have her back. This is not a sport.”

Richardson said both BYU officials and coaching staff were aware of the incident during the game, “but did not take the necessary steps to stop the unacceptable behavior and create a safe environment.” Even after the incident was brought to his attention, Richardson said BYU officials “failed to adequately address the situation.”

The harassment resulted in Richardson and her teammates struggling to get through the game, as opposed to just being able to focus on their game, she tweeted.

“No athlete, regardless of their race, should ever be subjected to such hostile conditions,” Richardson’s tweet read.

Richardson also addressed comments that she or her teammates should have refused to continue playing.

Brigham Young University apologizes, bans fan for racist slurs during volleyball game

“Even though the heckling ended up mentally killing me, I refused to let it stop me from doing what I love to do and what I came to BYU to do; which was play volleyball,” her tweet read. “I refused to allow those racist bigots to feel any degree of satisfaction from thinking their comments ‘got to me’. So, I pushed on and ended the game.”

Despite the incident, Richardson said she doesn’t believe it was a reflection of BYU athletes. She complimented their players on a great game and showing “nothing but respect and good sportsmanship on and off the court.”

BYU Athletics did not confirm the details of the incident but announced that they banned a fan from all sports fields and tweeted an apology.

“When a student-athlete or fan comes to a BYU sporting event, we expect them to be treated with love and respect and to feel safe on our campus. That’s why BYU banned a fan who was identified as Duke from last night’s volleyball game of all BYU athletic fields,” according to the statement.

“We wholeheartedly apologize to Duke University and especially to its student-athletes competing last night for what they experienced,” the statement read.

The statement said the person in question was not a BYU student, despite sitting in the student section.

The event led Duke University to announce they moved the location of their Saturday game and their priority was the safety of student athletes.

“They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment that promotes equality and fair play,” Duke’s statement said.

CNN’s Matt Foster contributed to this report.

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