Utah State’s Max Shulga Responds To Colorado State’s Chant, Apology

Feb 5, 2023, 5:39 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2023, 1:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITYUtah State’s Max Shulga issued a response following Colorado State’s apology for a negative chant directed at the Aggie basketball player during USU’s win over the Rams.

Max Shulga On Colorado State Chants, Apology

The Rams hosted the Aggies at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado on Saturday, February 4.

During the final minute of action, Shulga, who is a native of Ukraine, went to the free throw line for two sets of foul shots as USU closed out the contest. While at the charity stripe, members of CSU’s student section chanted “Russia, Russia” at the Utah State player.

Almost a year prior, Russian forces invaded Shulga’s homeland of Ukraine in February 2022.

One day after the game, Shulga issued the following statement on the situation regarding Colorado State’s student section:

“First, I would like to thank the Colorado State administration and Coach Medved for their immediate support and understanding following the disappoint event during last night’s game. This has been an exteremly difficult and challenging year with my family and loved ones so far away and living in constant danger. I pray daily for the conflict to come to a close and for peace to be restored for my people in Ukraine. As for the chants last night, while extremely upsetting in the moment, I also know how emotions can run high during competition and people can do and say things they do not really mean. Colorado State and its fan have apologized and I accept and appreciate the apology. I hope you will all join me in praying for peace in Ukraine.” – Max Shulga

Colorado State’s Apology

Hours before Shulga’s statement, the Colorado State athletic department issued an apology after the its student section chanted “Russia” at Shulga during a college basketball game between the Aggies and Rams.

“Ugly situation in Fort Collins – Colorado State student section chanted ‘Russia…Russia’ at Max Shulga while he was shooting late free throws,” KSL Sports Zone’s and USU broadcaster Scott Garrard described the situation in a tweet. “Max is from Kiev, Ukraine and his family still resides there.”

Utah State went on to beat Colorado State, 88-79. Shulga finished the contest with nine points, three rebounds, six assists, and a block in 33 minutes on the court.

RELATED: 12 Second Half Threes Lead Utah State Over Colorado State

Shortly after the game ended, Colorado State tweeted the following apology:

“Following tonight’s basketball game, we became aware that a small group of individuals in our student section chanted “Russia” at a student-athlete from Utah State, who is from the Ukraine. On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State. This is a violation of our steadfast belief in the Mountain West Sportsmanship Policy and University Principles of Community. Every participant, student, and fan should feel welcomed in our venues, and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State.” – Colorado State Rams

Rams head coach Niko Medved also addressed the incident and apology on Twitter.

“I have so much respect for @USUBasketball and Max Shulga. We have amazing fans and students but this is not acceptable! My sincere apologies,” Medved shared.

Utah State’s Response

The next morning, Utah State issued the following response to the incident and Colorado State’s apology:

“Utah State University and its athletics department fully supports Max Shulga, and his family, who reside in Ukraine. The incident that occurred during our men’s basketball game at Colorado State last night was inappropriate and unacceptable. We appreciate the Colorado State adminstration and basketball staff for not condoning such behavior.” – Utah State Athletics

Last season, Shulga spoke about Russia’s invasion shortly after the escalation of forces into Ukraine.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Shulga said.

The Kyiv, Ukraine native added that he had a lot of emotions on the situation. Shulga said that he’s was able to call his family in Ukraine and that he was happy to see them safe.

Before the Aggies’ game against Colorado State on February 26, 2022, the USU student section showed solidarity with Shulga by forming a blue and yellow design in the crowd with colored cards in honor of the Ukrainian flag.

About Max Shulga

Shulga is a junior for the Utah State men’s basketball program. He’s played for the Aggies since 2020.

During his three seasons with USU, the guard has played in 79 games. This season, Shulga is averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.3 blocks, and 0.7 steals per game.

Shulga and the Aggies currently own a 19-5 record, including 8-3 in Mountain West Conference contests. Utah State’s next game is at home against the No. 22 San Diego State Aztecs on Wednesday, February 8 at 8 p.m. (MDT). The game can be heard on KSL Sports Zone (1280 AM) and KSLSports.com.

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Utah State’s Max Shulga Responds To Colorado State’s Chant, Apology