BYU bans fan from shouting abuse at Black player on Duke’s women’s volleyball team

PROVO, Utah — BYU banned a fan who yelled a racial slur at a Black player on the Duke volleyball team during a match Friday night, the university said in a statement Saturday.

The fan was seated in the BYU student section but was not a student, and was banned from all athletic areas on campus, the statement said.

“We will not tolerate this type of behavior. In particular, the use of racial slurs at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics has a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior, ” said the statement. “We wholeheartedly apologize to Duke University and especially to its student-athletes who competed last night for what they experienced. We want BYU athletic events to provide a safe environment for everyone, and there is no place for these types of incidents. -behavior in our areas.”

The player, Rachel Richardson, the only Black starter on the team, was called a racial slur “every time she served,” Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, said. said in a tweet.

“For far too long, individuals have been subjected to racist slurs, taunts, and threats like the unfortunate incident that happened to my aunt, Rachel Richardson, at BYU. It’s unfortunate that this incident only received attention after I tweet about it,” Pamplin, a candidate for circuit court judge in Fort Worth, Texas, said in an emailed statement.

“Every American should be outraged that a young woman was subjected to hateful, hateful speech, and we should be even more outraged that it took a tweet from me in Tarrant County, Texas, to communicate this incident,” he continued. the statement.

Pamplin tweeted that Richardson was “threatened by a white guy who told him to watch him back on the team bus. A cop had to be put on their bench.”

Richardson is a 19-year-old sophomore from Ellicott City, Maryland.

Duke said its game Saturday against Rider was moved from BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse to another venue in Provo.

“First and foremost, our priority is the welfare of Duke student-athletes,” Duke athletic director Nina King said in a statement. “They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment that promotes equality and fair play. Following the extremely unfortunate events of Friday night’s game at BYU, we are compelled move today’s match against Rider to another location to cope. both teams are the safest environment for competition.”

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe addressed most of the house at Smith Fieldhouse before Saturday night’s game against Washington State: “I felt compelled to speak to our fans in attendance and address the very unfortunate incident last night. Cougar Nation, we have to do better, and we have to have courage to take care of each other and our guests at our BYU sporting event.”

Duke and BYU play in a four-team, round-robin invitational along with Rider and Washington State. BYU beat Duke 3-1 on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.