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BYU Bans Fan Following Racist Allegations During Volleyball Match

Aug 27, 2022, 3:19 PM | Updated: 3:33 pm
Tom Holmoe - BYU Football...
BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announces going independent in football and joining the WCC for other sports and their contract wit ESPN. Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010 (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)
(Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The BYU Athletic Department announced that they have banned a fan from all athletic venues after a Duke volleyball player’s godmother tweeted a racist experience a Blue Devil player had during Friday’s match against the Cougars.

The Duke volleyball player’s godmother @LesaPamplin on Twitter sent the following tweets on Saturday morning.

*This tweet contains a racial slur. Read ahead with caution.

“My goddaughter is the only Black starter for Duke’s volleyball team,” the tweet read. “While playing yesterday, she was called a (racial slur) every time she served. She was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus. A police officer had to be put by their bench. Not one freaking adult did anything to protect her. I’m looking at you @BYU. You allowed this racist behavior to continue without intervening. Apologizing to her parents after the fact is not enough. She will soon be sharing her story.”

Saturday afternoon, the BYU Athletic Department released the following statement:

“All of God’s children deserve love and respect, and BYU Athletics is completely committed to leading out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice of any kind and rooting out racism,” the statement read. “When a student-athlete or a fan comes to a BYU sporting event, we expect that they will be treated with love and respect and feel safe on our campus. It is for this reason BYU has banned a fan who was identified by Duke during last night’s volleyball match from all BYU athletic venues. Although this fan was sitting in BYU’s student section, this person is not a BYU student.

“To say we are extremely disheartened in the actions of a smaller number of fans in last night’s volleyball match in the Smith Fieldhouse between BYU and Duke is not strong enough language,” the statement continued. “We will not tolerate behavior of this kind. Specifically, the use of a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics holds a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior. We wholeheartedly apologize to Duke University and especially its student-athletes competing last night for what they experienced. We want BYU athletic events to provide a safe environment for all, and there is no place for behaviors like this in our venues.”

BYU defeated Duke in front of a record-setting crowd at the Smith Fieldhouse.

Later Saturday afternoon, Duke announced that their game against Rider in the doTERRA Classic in Provo will be played at an alternate location. It was originally scheduled for Saturday at 4:00 PM MT.

“First and foremost, our priority is the well-being of Duke student-athletes,” said Duke Vice President & Director of Athletics Nina King. “They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment which promotes equality and fair play.  Following extremely unfortunate circumstances at Friday night’s match at BYU, we are compelled to shift today’s match against Rider to a different location to afford both teams the safest atmosphere for competition.  We are appreciative of the support from BYU’s athletic administration as we navigate this troubling situation. I have been in touch with the student-athletes who have been deeply impacted, will continue to support them in every way possible and look forward to connecting further upon their return from Provo.”

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