Duke’s volleyball game in Utah moved after black player was racially abused

March 14, 2022; Dayton, Ohio, USA; The NCAA logo appears on a microphone during training the day before the first four start of the 2022 NCAA Championships at UD Arena. Mandatory credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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(Reuters) – The Duke University women’s volleyball game on Saturday has moved to an alternate location in Provo, Utah, after a black player was racially abused in the crowd during Friday’s game with the University of British Columbia, school officials said.

The incident prompted BYU to apologize and ban a fan who was identified as the culprit.

Lisa Pamplin, the black duke’s godmother, wrote on Twitter that while playing her great daughter, 19-year-old Rachel Richardson, she was subjected to racial insults every time she served.

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“She was threatened by a white man who told her to watch her as she headed for the team bus. A police officer had to be placed next to their seat,” Pamplin wrote on Twitter. She confirmed the account in an interview with Reuters.

“Many adults have failed my daughter,” Pamplin said in a statement. “Every American should be outraged that a young woman has been subjected to hateful and malicious language.”

Nina King, Duke’s vice president and director of athletics, said in a statement that “extremely unfortunate circumstances” had forced her to change the venue for Saturday’s game against Ryder “to provide both teams with the safest environment to compete.” She said players should always be able to complete in an “inclusive and anti-racist environment”.

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In a statement, BYU said it was fully committed to rooting out racism, and banned a fan identified by Duke from all BYU Athletic stadiums.

In a subsequent email to Reuters, BYU said that after game officials spent hours reviewing video of the event, speaking with event management and security staff.

BYU said that when “last night’s behavior was initially reported by Duke, no one was referred to, and despite the efforts of BYU’s Department of Events and Security, they were unable to identify the perpetrator of the racial insults.”

After the match, BYU said, “A person was identified by Duke who they thought was swearing and displaying problematic behavior. This is the person who got banned.”

The school said the perpetrator was sitting in the student section of BYU but was not a BYU student.

BYU said the Duke players “felt insecure and hurt, and we weren’t able to address that during the match in a way that was adequate. So, we’re really apologetic, and we’re studying our processes and practices to do everything we can to make sure something like this never happens again.”

The incident sparked condemnation on social media. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted in support of Richardson: “We support her. This is not a sport.”

Duke did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment about the incident. The BYU Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Duke beat Saturday vs Ryder 3-1, her first win of the season. Richardson led the team with three aces.

David Shepardson News. Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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