BYU Gives Second Statement Into Racial Slurs To Duke Volleyball Player

Aug 27, 2022, 10:04 PM
BYU Volleyball, Duke, Racial Slur...
BYU athletics has concluded their investigation into alleged racial slurs hurled at Duke Volleyball player Rachel Richardson (Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics)

PROVO, Utah – BYU athletics has issued a second statement regarding the racial slurs from a now banned fan to Duke women’s volleyball player Rachel Richardson during a game at BYU on Friday, August 26.

BYU athletics issues second statement

“Following last night’s volleyball game, we spent hours reviewing video of the event, speaking with our event management and security staffs to try and figure out what exactly occurred and how it might’ve happened. This behavior cannot be acceptable. To any of us.

“When last night’s behavior was initially reported by Duke, there was no individual pointed out and despite BYU security and event management’s efforts, they were not able to identify a perpetrator of racial slurs. It wasn’t until after the game that an individual was identified by Duke who they believed were uttering the slurs and exhibiting problematic behaviors. That is the individual who has been banned. We understand that the Duke players’ experience is what matters here. They felt unsafe and hurt, and we were unable to address that during the game in a manner that was sufficient. For that, we truly do apologize, and we are examining our processes and practices to do everything in our power to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We commit to increased communication with our event staff to handle these types of situations better and having further discussion with our student section, educating them on our fan code of conduct.”

Racist slurs at BYU/Duke Volleyball game

Richardson’s godmother Lesa Pamplin, a Fort Worth, Texas judge, brought the incident to public light with a tweet that said, “My Goddaughter is the only black starter for Dukes volleyball team. While playing yesterday, she was called a n— 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.”

Since Pamplin’s tweet, BYU issued an initial statement that indicated the fan, who wasn’t a BYU student, has been banned. However, BYU did not specify the length of time for the ban.

As part of the doTERRA Volleyball Classic on BYU’s campus, Duke was supposed to play Rider University on Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse. That game was moved to an undisclosed location in Provo. Members of the Rider volleyball team wrote “#3” on their wrists in support of Richardson.

Duke won the game 3 to 1 and Richardson played, recording five kills for Duke.

Lesa Pamplin issues official statement on BYU/Duke Volleyball Game

Pamplin has since issued her official statement on the incident.

“For far too long, individuals have been subjected to racist slurs, taunts, and threats like the unfortunate incident that happened to my goddaughter, Rachel Richardson, at BYU. It is unfortunate that this incident has only received attention after I tweeted about it. Every American should be enraged that a young lady was subjected to hateful, demeaning language, and we should be even more outraged that it took a tweet from me in Tarrant County, Texas to bring this incident to light.

“We must, as a country, do better. We must demand that the coaches to whom we entrust our children stand up for them and keep them safe. Many adults failed my goddaughter. It is our duty — each of us — to use our voices in the spaces we occupy to protect and advocate for each other.

“On behalf of my goddaughter, Rachel, and her parents, than you for the outpouring of support.”

Tom Holmoe spoke to fans

No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball defeated Washington State 3 to 0 on Saturday night to close out the doTERRA Classic. There were changes made to the seating for fans during the game. No members of BYU’s student section, “The ROC,” were sitting courtside behind Washington State’s servers.

Tom Holmoe, BYU’s longtime athletic director spoke to the crowd before the game with a message that he summed up in a tweet, “we’ve got to be better, and we’ve got to have the courage to take care of each other and our guests at our BYU sporting events.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Gives Second Statement Into Racial Slurs To Duke Volleyball Player