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BYU Athletics Department bans non-student fan for using racial slurs at volleyball game vs. Duke

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Posted at 3:56 PM, Aug 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-27 23:11:59-04

PROVO, Utah — The Brigham Young University Athletics Department said it banned a fan from all athletic venues for shouting racial slurs during a volleyball game Friday night, and a subsequent game on Saturday was moved to a new, undisclosed location.

While the statement issued by BYU on Saturday said they banned one person, it also said there was "a small number of fans" at the BYU vs. Duke match whose actions were unacceptable.

"Specifically, the use of a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics holds a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior," the statement read in part. "We wholeheartedly apologize to Duke University and especially its student-athletes competing last night for what they experienced."

The person banned was sitting in the student section but was not a student, BYU said.

In an additional statement issued later Saturday, BYU Athletics spokesman Jon McBride gave an update and confirmed that the person using slurs was not identified until after the game.

"When last night’s behavior was initially reported by Duke, there was no individual pointed out and despite BYU security and event management’s efforts, they were not able to identify a perpetrator of racial slurs," McBride said in part. "It wasn’t until after the game that an individual was identified by Duke who they believed were uttering the slurs and exhibiting problematic behaviors. That is the individual who has been banned."

"We understand that the Duke players’ experience is what matters here. They felt unsafe and hurt, and we were unable to address that during the game in a manner that was sufficient. For that, we truly do apologize, and we are examining our processes and practices to do everything in our power to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again," McBride's statement continued.

The Duke-BYU match was part of a round-robin invitational along with Rider University and Washington State.

Saturday afternoon, the BYU Women's Volleyball team announced that the game between Duke and Rider would be played "off-site," and only staff and players' family members would be allowed to attend.

Lesa Pamplin wrote in a tweet that her goddaughter was a recipient of the racial slurs. She said her goddaughter was called the N-word every time she served and "was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus."

Pamplin said the school's actions and apology afterward were inadequate, however.

"Not one freaking adult did anything to protect her," she wrote on Twitter. "I’m looking at you @BYU. You allowed this racist behavior to continue without intervening. Apologizing to her parents after the fact is not enough."

Duke Vice President & Director of Athletics Nina King also issued a statement:

"First and foremost, our priority is the well-being of Duke student-athletes. They should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment which promotes equality and fair play. 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. I have been in touch with the student-athletes who have been deeply impacted, will continue to support them in every way possible and look forward to connecting further upon their return from Provo."