On Friday, however, BYU Athletics said its investigation found no evidence of racial heckles.
“As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as uttering racial slurs during the game,” the university said in a statement. “We have found no evidence that this individual has engaged in any such activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to this fan for the hardship the ban has caused.”
Rachel Richardson, a sophomore on the Duke volleyball team, tweeted a statement on August 28 alleging that she and other black players had been racially harassed at a game days earlier. . Richardson claimed BYU officials failed to act even after being made aware of the incident.
Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King released a statement Friday following BYU’s statement.
“The 18-member Duke University volleyball team are exceptionally strong women who represent themselves, their families, and Duke University with the utmost integrity,” King said. “We unequivocally support and defend them, especially when their character is questioned.”
Watching the match on TV at the Richardson family home, Marvin Richardson said he had “no idea” what happened during the contest, but his daughter explained her experience to him in detail through the following.
“After the game, we [Rachel and I] still talking and she called, but it was a different call,” Marvin told CNN’s “New Day” show.
“She was crying, she was upset and Rachel is not the person who calls and cries over a loss, that’s just not who she is. So we knew something was wrong and then she started to tell us what was happening and what had happened during the game, first [we felt] anger, outrage and just a real need to make sure something was done to fix the things that happened to us.”
BYU said it reviewed audio and video recordings, as well as footage released by the university, and interviewed more than 50 people at the game as well as athletic staff and student-athletes from Duke and BYU.
“As we said earlier, we will not tolerate any conduct that makes a student-athlete feel unsafe. This is the reason for our immediate response and thorough investigation,” the statement reads. communicated.
“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,” BYU said.
South Carolina basketball coach still okay with canceled games
Following the initial controversy, South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley said her team is canceling games against BYU scheduled for this and next season.
Staley said Friday she has not changed her mind.
“I continue to defend my position. After my personal research, I have made a decision for the well-being of my team. I regret that my university, my athletic director Ray Tanner and others have allowed themselves to be drawn into the criticism of a choice I made,” Staley said in a statement released by the university’s athletics department.
A group of South Carolina Republican lawmakers said the university “acted without regard or respect for the truth” in withdrawing from the games.
The Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, Republican Rep. RJ May, told CNN in a phone call that Staley had no reason for his decision.
“Instead of apologizing, she’s doubling down on her decision,” May said. “BYU deserves an apology.”
The statement comes two days after the group of lawmakers sent a letter to Tanner and Staley, saying the university “rushed to appease the loudest voices of the far left by ‘cancelling’ BYU, in the sense proper and figurative”. Caucus members also requested tapes relating to school officials’ reactions to the alleged incident and discussions of scheduled games against BYU.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Kevin Dotson and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.