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BYU (Brigham Young University) has un-banned the fan accused of racially heckling a Duke University volleyball player during their August 26 match after what the school claims was an “extensive review.”
The school released a statement Friday saying they completed their investigation into the accusation of racial heckling and “have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.”
Three days after the volleyball match between BYU and Duke, BYU banned a spectator from attending future events at any of its sports venues. In their statement, they claimed the fan was not a BYU student, but was sitting in the student section throughout the match.
Official statement from BYU Athletics. pic.twitter.com/5bIwXNwr7J
— BYU Cougars (@BYUCougars) August 27, 2022
BYU says they reviewed all available video and audio recordings and contacted more than 50 people who attended the event, including some Duke athletes and staff members. Their review included security camera footage and footage from BYUtv, with broadcasting audio removed (to ensure that the noise from the stands could be heard more clearly) the statement says.
Duke Volleyball Player Racially Heckled During Match
Rachel Richardson, a 19-year-old sophomore, claimed she was called a racial slur every time she served. Richardson is the only Black starter for Duke’s volleyball team.
“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,” Richardson said.
Duke was near that student section during the 2nd and 4th sets, so likely happened then?
Here, you can see 2 of her teammates look into that direction during her serve. The fan on the left taps their friend and says something while pointing back (doesn’t look too happy either) pic.twitter.com/xfTQ9a0N8C
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) August 27, 2022
Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, tweeted about the incident after the game saying that Richardson “was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus. A police officer had to be put by their bench.”
Richardson tweeted a statement after the game where she said “both the officials and BYU coaching staff were made aware of the incident during the game.”
— rachel ♡ (@rachrich03) August 28, 2022
In their statement BYU “sincerely apologizes to that fan for any hardship the ban has caused,” and reiterates that their fight is against racism, not against any individual. They go on to say that “each person impacted has strong feelings and experiences, which we honor,” yet did not mention Richardson’s name once in their statement.
According to ESPN, BYU communicated the results of the investigation to Duke before releasing their statement publicly.
The Black Wall Street Times reached out to the Athletic Director’s department of Duke for a statement regarding the results of BYU’s investigation, but was not given an immediate response.