South Carolina women’s basketball cancels BYU games after racial incident in volleyball game
The South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team has called off its home-and-away series with the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars following the racial incident involving Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson during a a BYU game last week, Dawn Staley, head coach of the national champions defense said Friday.
« As head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and my staff, » Staley said in a statement. « The incident at BYU has caused me to re-evaluate our house and our home, and I don’t think now is the right time for us to commit to this series. »
Richardson said BYU officials did not act quickly enough to end the racist harassment she and other black players faced at a game last week. Richardson tweeted that she and some of her teammates « were targeted and racially heckled throughout the game. Insults and comments turned into threats which made us feel unsafe.
BYU issued an apology the day after the game and said so banned a fan.
South Carolina was scheduled to open its season at home against BYU on Nov. 7. The Gamecocks said they are looking for another season opener at Colonial Life Arena.
BYU said it was « extremely disappointed » with the decision.
« We are extremely disappointed with South Carolina’s decision to cancel our series and ask for patience with the ongoing investigation, » BYU’s women’s basketball team said in a statement on Twitter. « We believe the solution is to work together to eradicate racism and not to separate from each other. #Love each other. »
The two teams were scheduled to meet at the University of Utah next season.
BYU said it had no evidence the banned fan used a racial slur. The investigation is ongoing.
“We are still investigating fan behavior and investigating our own response to reported behavior,” BYU associate athletic director Jon McBride said in a statement to CNN on Saturday. « The individual who was banned was the person identified by Duke as using racial slurs. However, we found no evidence that this individual used slurs in the game. We are continuing to investigate this specific situation.
On Thursday, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe wrote an opinion piece for the Deseret News stating that the school is « committed to zero tolerance of racism » and will be defined by its response to the racial incident.
« Let me be clear about BYU’s position on this issue: Racism is disgusting and unacceptable, » he wrote. « We have worked to understand and follow Rachel’s experience with sincere commitment and ongoing concern. To say that we were extremely disheartened by her report is not strong enough language. BYU and BYU Athletics pledge not to not tolerate racism Any fans caught engaging in racial slurs will be banned from our sports venues.
Holmoe added, “While some will try to define BYU by this incident, we will ultimately be defined by how we respond. The BYU that I know and love rejects racism.