PROVO, Utah (ABC4) — Recently, the athletic department at Brigham Young University (BYU) spoke out against racist allegations surrounding the Aug. 26 volleyball game against Duke University. Additionally, Governor Spencer Cox issued a public statement regarding the claims, along with Duke University.
The most recent statement from BYU Athletics regarding the August 26 volleyball game reads:
“As part of our commitment to take any allegations of racism seriously, BYU has completed its investigation into the allegation of heckling and racial slurs at the Duke vs. BYU women’s volleyball game on August 26. We have reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles taken by BYUtv of the match, with the audio broadcast removed (to ensure that noise from the stands can be heard more clearly). We also reached out to more than 50 people who attended the event: Duke Athletic Department staff and student-athletes, BYU Athletic Department staff and student-athletes, security and management of the event and the fans who were in the arena that night, including many fans in the student field section.
Based on our extensive review, we found no evidence to support the allegation that fans engaged in racist heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event. As previously stated, we will not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. This is the reason for our immediate response and thorough investigation.
Following our investigation, we lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as uttering racial slurs during the game. We found no evidence that this person engaged in such activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to this fan for the hardship the ban has caused.
Our fight is against racism, not against an individual or an institution. Each person affected has strong feelings and experiences, which we honor, and encourage others to show similar civility and respect. We remain committed to eradicating racism wherever it is found. We hope that we can all unite in this important fight.
Some will assume that we are selective in our examination. On the contrary, we have tried to be as thorough as possible in our investigation, and we renew our invitation to anyone with evidence contrary to our conclusions to come forward and share it.
While it is impossible to find evidence to support racial slurs in the many recordings and interviews, we hope that everyone involved will understand our sincere efforts to ensure that all student-athletes competing at BYU feel safe. As Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said, BYU and BYU Athletics are committed to not tolerating racism, and we strive to provide a positive experience for everyone who attends our athletic events, including students- athletes, coaches and fans, where they are valued. and respected.“
A Tweet from Governor Spencer Cox in reference to the racist allegations reads:
“After recent allegations of racism, I have followed BYU’s own statement and condemned the incident in the strongest possible terms. Subsequently, it appears that neither the school, the media, the forces of the order nor anyone else in the arena have been able to confirm these allegations.
I will always speak out strongly against racism. I also think it’s important to step back and acknowledge new facts as they come to light and talk about them publicly as well. Part of that takes patience, something I could have done better in this situation. I apologize to the fan who was apparently unfairly singled out.
I appreciate the thorough investigation and work done by Tom Holmoe and BYU and fully support the school in its efforts to resolve this issue.
Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King released the following statement on the matter:
“The 18-member Duke University volleyball team are exceptionally strong women who represent themselves, their families, and Duke University with the utmost integrity. We unequivocally support and defend them. , especially when their character is questioned. Duke Athletics believes in respect, equality and inclusion, and we do not tolerate hate and prejudice. #HateWontLiveHere
ORIGINAL STORY: POLICE: BYU finds no evidence of fans using racial slurs
AUGUST 31 / 4:37 PM
PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – Brigham Young University (BYU) police have reportedly found no evidence that a Cougar fan used racial slurs toward Duke University volleyball players during the game of Friday.
During the Aug. 26 game, police say Duke officials informed an on-duty BYU officer of racist comments originating from the BYU student wing directed at Rachel Richardson and other University players. of Duke. After the game, Duke officials reportedly reported the fan, who was escorted off BYU property and later received an indefinite ban from BYU Athletics.
In a police report filed by officer Richard Laursen, he said he was made aware of comments made in the third set of the game. At the start of the fourth set, Laursen said he moved to stand between the Duke players and the student section of BYU, although he didn’t hear any racial slurs. Laursen later confirmed this with BYU Athletics staff.
While standing near the BYUI student section midway through the third set, Laursen said he was asked by a BYU fan, the same person who was eventually banned from college sporting events, to find out. why the officer was there and if there was a problem. Laursen reports that he told the fan that he “was there to listen to inappropriate comments towards Duke players and the fan (him) said he didn’t hear any inappropriate comments. He said he told the players not to put the ball in the net, but that was the only comment he made to the Duke players.
Laursen added that the fan, who is believed to be a student from another university, “seemed more interested in talking to him than cheering on BYU.” Laursen also said the student appeared to have special needs.
In his report, Laursen went on to note that after the game ended, Duke players and coaches were still upset about what happened during the game, and claimed that the alleged racial comments targeting Duke players Duke continued through the fourth set and Laursen did nothing. to approach them. Laursen reportedly told athletic staff that he never heard racist comments throughout the game.
As reported by ABC4 following the incident, Lesa Pamplin of Fort Worth, Texas originally tweeted about the incident saying Rachel Richardson her goddaughter was called the N word every time she served. .
“She was threatened by a white man who told her to watch her heading towards the team bus,” Pamplin tweeted, adding that “a police officer must have been put next to their bench. You left this racist behavior to continue without intervening. Apologizing to her parents after the fact is not enough. She will soon share her story.
Laursen later reviewed footage of the game with one of BYU’s coaches, but still found no evidence of racial discrimination from BYU’s student section. Laursen noted that the fan in question was not present while Richardson was serving or was on the phone and not paying attention to the play when the Duke player was serving.
In a statement following the incident, BYU Athletics released a statement on Twitter saying they are “extremely discouraged by the actions of a small number of fans” during the game.
“We will not tolerate behavior like this,” the statement continued. “Specifically, the use of a racial slur at any of our sporting events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics takes a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior.”
Duke’s game the following night against Rider was moved to Mountain View High School and was played without any fans in attendance.
The most recent statement from BYU officials regarding the incident reads:
“Various BYU Athletics employees have reviewed video from BYUtv and other cameras in the facility that the volleyball team has access to for the film review. This has been going on since just after Friday night’s game.
The person who was banned was the person identified by Duke as using racial slurs. However, we found no evidence that this person used slurs in the game.
We said if anyone has any photo or video evidence of a racial slur writer from Friday night, we would appreciate the information.