BYU investigation ‘found no evidence’ fan yelled racial slur at Duke volleyball player … apologizing and overturning ban on accused fan
- Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson claimed fans in the student section repeatedly used the n-word directed at her during the game against BYU.
- After speaking to more than 50 people and analyzing video and audio evidence, BYU’s athletics department says they found no evidence of racism
- BYU also lifted the ban on a fan accused of the remarks and apologized to them
A racist incident in late August during a volleyball tournament at Brigham Young University in Utah led to an investigation by the university into fan behavior.
Rachel Richardson, a black volleyball player at Duke University, said she and her teammates were called racial slurs during the match.
After the game, a fan flagged by Richardson and Duke staff was banned from all future BYU sporting events.
The incident led to national media attention, with Richardson chronicling her side of the story on ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Duke’s Rachel Richardson (right) says she was racially abused in a game against BYU
But on Friday, BYU released an internal investigation report into the fans in the student section and found no evidence of abuse, overturning the decision to ban the fan.
“As part of our commitment to take any allegations of racism seriously, BYU has completed its investigation into an allegation that racial slurs took place at the Duke women’s volleyball game against BYU on August 26,” a statement from its athletic department said. BYU.
“We reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles captured by BYUtv of the game, while the broadcast audio was removed (to ensure that noise from the stands could to be heard more clearly).
“We also contacted more than 50 people who attended the event: Duke athletic department staff and student-athletes, BYU athletic department staff and student-athletes, security and event management, and fans who were in the arena that night, including many of the fans in the student section inside the stadium.
Richardson says fans used the n-word repeatedly during the match, directed at her
“From our extensive review, we found no evidence to support the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event. As we previously stated, we would not tolerate any behavior that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. This is the reason for our immediate response and thorough investigation.
“As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban of the fan who was identified as using racial slurs during the match. We have found no evidence that this person engaged in such activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to this fan for any inconvenience caused by the ban.
“Our struggle is against racism, not against any individual or any institution. Each person affected has strong feelings and experiences, which we honor and encourage others to show similar kindness and respect. We remain committed to eliminating racism wherever it is found. We hope we are all together in this important fight.
“There will be some who will assume that we are selective in our review. Instead, we have tried to be as thorough as possible in our investigation and renew our invitation for anyone with evidence contrary to our findings to come forward and share it.”
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe spoke to students after the incident, telling them that racism would not be tolerated by the athletic staff
Duke athletic director Nina King responded to the investigation’s findings in a statement.
“The 18 members of the Duke varsity volleyball team are extremely strong women who represent themselves, their families and Duke University with the utmost integrity,” King said.
“We stand unequivocally with them and defend them, especially when their character is called into question. Duke Athletics believes in respect, equality and inclusion, and we do not tolerate hate and prejudice. #HateWontWontLiveHere’