Brigham Young University (BYU) issued an apology on Twitter Aug. 27 for racist comments made by a fan during a women's volleyball match between BYU and Duke University Aug. 26, CNN reported. BYU has since banned the person from athletic venues.
Lesa Pamplin, godmother of Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson said in a now-deleted tweet that Richardson, who is Black, was called racial slurs during the game at BYU's Smith Fieldhouse.
"My Goddaughter is the only black starter for Dukes volleyball team,” Pamplin said. “While playing yesterday, she was called a n***er every time she served."
The post continued: "She 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."
BYU Athletics did not confirm incident specifics. The person was not a BYU student, although they did sit in the BYU student section, according to the apology.
"All of God's children deserve love and respect, and BYU Athletics is completely committed to leading out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice of any kind and rooting out racism," BYU’s tweet wrote. “When a student-athlete or a fan comes to a BYU sporting event, we expect that they will be treated with love and respect and feel safe on our campus. It is for this reason BYU has banned a fan who was identified by Duke during last night's volleyball match from all BYU athletic venues.”
In a statement, Duke Athletics announced that they would play their next match later that Saturday against Rider University in an different site instead of at the fieldhouse. Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King emphasized prioritizing the well-being of Duke’s student-athletes.
"They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment which promotes equality and fair play,” King wrote in the statement. “Following extremely unfortunate circumstances at Friday night's match at BYU, we are compelled to shift today's match against Rider to a different location to afford both teams the safest atmosphere for competition. We are appreciative of the support from BYU's athletic administration as we navigate this troubling situation.”