BYU Finishes Investigation, Says No Racial Slurs Were Hurled At Duke Volleyball Player
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - NOVEMBER 23: The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays take on the Emory Eagles during the Division III Women's Volleyball Championship held at the U.S. Cellular Center on November 23, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Johns Hopkins defeated Emory 3-0 to win the national title.
Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Brigham Young University (BYU) released a statement on Friday stating that after a thorough investigation, no evidence had been found that racial heckling and slurs took place at the Duke vs. BYU women’s volleyball match on August 26.

A public maelstrom had been catalyzed after Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson had claimed BYU fans yelled racial slurs at her during that game.

“We reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles taken by BYUtv of the match, with broadcasting audio removed (to ensure that the noise from the stands could be heard more clearly),” the BYU statement read. “We also reached out to more than 50 individuals who attended the event: Duke athletic department personnel and student-athletes, BYU athletic department personnel and student-athletes, event security and management and fans who were in the arena that evening, including many of the fans in the on-court student section.”

The day after the game, Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, who was running for election for the number five judge of the Tarrant County Criminal Court in Texas, tweeted, “My Goddaughter is the only black starter for Dukes volleyball team. While playing yesterday, she was called a n***er every time she served.”

That prompted NBA star Lebron James to chime in, “@LesaPamplin, you tell your Goddaughter to stand tall, be proud and continue to be BLACK!!! We are a brotherhood and sisterhood! We have her back. This is not sports.”

The next day, Richardson claimed, “Friday night in our match against Brigham Young University my fellow African American teammates and I were targeted and racially heckled throughout the entirety of the match. The slurs and comments grew into threats which caused us to feel unsafe.”

Richardson accused the officials and BYU coaching staff of being aware of the slurs but failing to “take the necessary steps to stop the unacceptable behavior and create a safe environment.”

A week after the August 26 game, South Carolina women’s basketball canceled its home-and-home series with Brigham Young.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley stated, “As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff. The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

“From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event,” the BYU statement continued, before referring to a fan who had been subsequently banned from the campus after being mistakenly identified as someone yelling racial slurs.

“As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as having uttered racial slurs during the match. We have not found any evidence that that individual engaged in such an activity,” the statement declared.

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