Education

BYU Investigation Concludes Fan Didn’t Use ‘Racial Slur’ Against Duke Volleyball Player

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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Brigham Young University (BYU) concluded there was no evidence that a fan used a racial slur against a Duke University athlete during a volleyball game, according to a statement from BYU’s athletic department.

BYU launched an investigation and barred a fan from campus after Duke women’s volleyball player Rachel Richardson alleged she was called the n-word during an Aug. 26 game. The investigation concluded that there is no “evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.”

“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,” the investigation statement reads.

The Provo, Utah university reportedly spoke with Duke and BYU athletic department personnel and student-athletes, as well as event security and fans who attended the game that night.

“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. As we stated earlier, we would not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe,” the statement continues.

BYU lifted the ban against the fan who was barred from campus and said it “sincerely apologizes to that fan for any hardship the ban has caused,” according to the investigation statement.

The investigation began after Richardson informed her coaches about the alleged heckling during the match. Richardson told ESPN she heard a “very strong, negative racial slur.”

“So I served the ball, got through the play. And then the next time I went back to serve, I heard it extremely clear again, but that was the end of the game,” Richardson continued, according to ESPN.

The allegations caused a rift between BYU and the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team as well. The team canceled their games against BYU citing the false racial allegations.

“I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said in a Sept. 2 statement, according to ESPN.

National Review noted media outlets took Richardson’s claims at face value and reported the allegations as facts. ESPN’s Stephen Smith blamed BYU during an on-air rant against the racial hoax.

“I’m saying BYU — you did it,” Smith reportedly said.

CNN’s Jim Acosta also declared a “Duke volleyball player is speaking out after she and other black teammates were called racist slurs,” according to the National Review. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota reportedly made similar comments.

The BYU Athletic Department referred the Daily Caller to the university’s statements.