On Friday, August 26th, the Duke University volleyball team took the court against Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. 5,507 fans gathered for the contest – a school record for women’s volleyball.
Following the match, reports surfaced claiming Duke player Rachel Richardson was a victim of racial heckling from a person in the BYU student section. Richardson’s Godmother, Lesa Pamplin, who is running for circuit court judge in Fort Worth, Texas, tweeted, “My Goddaughter is the only black starter on Duke’s volleyball team. While playing yesterday, she was called a n***er every time she served.”
Naturally, this prompted responses from every media outlet in the nation. BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe issued an immediate apology and banned the accused fan indefinitely. LeBron James and other celebrities joined in supporting Richardson, and University of South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley canceled a previously scheduled home-and-home series with BYU.
Only after the viral chaos was unleashed did someone bother to check the facts.
It took two weeks for BYU to complete a full-scale investigation and issue a statement, which read in part, “We reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles … From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegations that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.”
The lack of evidence from this immense inquiry didn’t stop Duke from doubling down, stating, “We unequivocally stand with and champion our women, especially when their character is called into question. Duke athletics believes in respect, equality and inclusiveness, and we do not tolerate hate and bias.”
Is it hateful or biased to seek the truth? I would think a university still tarnished by the lacrosse scandal of 2006 would vet unfounded claims more thoroughly.
Former Duke basketball star Jay Bilas tweeted, “We stand with and up for Rachel Richardson.”
How about standing with and up for the facts?
Too often, fraudulent behavior in our society is rewarded or, at least, not punished. This is the byproduct of waging war on objective truth. Grifters are now able to scream lies through a megaphone; then, if caught, they issue retractions on a sticky note. (Or, in many cases, issue no retraction at all.)
A common response following the Jussie Smollett fiasco went something like, Well, he may not be telling the truth about this particular incident, but this type of behavior is historically accurate.
Historically accurate? Try explaining the concept of historical accuracy to the BYU fan who is being banned from campus for an action he or she didn’t commit.
I am unable to say for certain what Rachel Richardson heard or didn’t hear, but I have a hard time believing that the 5,507 people in attendance – on a college campus, no less, where sensitivity towards hateful language is at an all-time high – sat back without intervening while someone repeatedly shouted the n-word.
I also found parts of Richardson’s official statement to be problematic, specifically where she expressed, “It is not enough to indicate that you are not racist, instead you must demonstrate that you are anti-racist.”
This sort of semantic manipulation, where the goal posts of social misconduct constantly shift, must be eradicated. By the time you, as the reader, reach the end of this sentence, anti-racism will no longer be an acceptable moral position – you will have to now be double-anti-racist.
As of this writing, Duke University has yet to issue an apology to the aforementioned man accused of racist language, South Carolina women’s basketball has not rescheduled its series with the Cougars, and BYU has double-downed on its decision to keep fans from sitting behind opposing players in an effort to make their competitors feel more comfortable.
Collegiate athletics are not meant to be comfortable; they’re meant to be uncomfortable. They’re meant to prepare young men and women for the demanding world that lies in wait. Listening to our children as they share concerns is one thing; it’s quite another to coddle them.
America can never rewrite its racial past. Instead, we citizens must find a way to move forward together as one nation, not as separate races.
Ben Shapiro says it best: if someone commits a racist action, point them out, so we can hold them accountable together. Shouldn’t we demand the same accountability for those who fabricate racist encounters? Shouldn’t we require punishment for those who ruin the lives of others in an effort to promote ideological narratives?
Given Lesa Pamplin’s propensity for race-baiting, as evidenced by her twitter feed, there is a larger agenda at play. It’s clear, the demand for discrimination has now outpaced the supply, and for those upset by today’s lack of bigotry, remember: when everything is racist, nothing is racist.
David Cone is a co-host and producer of the Daily Wire’s sports show Crain & Company, as well as a contributor to Morning Wire. David is also a former quarterback for the University of Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @davidadamcone
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.