BYU Says It Found No Evidence Of Racist Harassment Against Black Duke Volleyball Players

Brigham Young University on Friday disputed claims by a Black Duke University volleyball player that she and her teammates were called racist statements during a game.

BYU Athletics said in a statement Friday that after a “comprehensive review” of the August 26 game, “we have not found any evidence to substantiate claims that fans made racist remarks or made racist remarks during the event.”

Duke University starter Rachel Richardson had said about: Twitter that she and other black teammates “were racially harassed throughout the game”.

She said the comments “grew into threats” and “made them unsafe.” The student-athlete further accused competition officials and BYU coaching staff of failing to stop the behavior soon.

Her godmother, Lesa Pamplin, also posted about the event on Twitter, claiming that Richardson was called the n-word “every time she served.” Her Twitter account is now private.

Richardson’s mother, Gloria Richardson, previously said her daughter had called home crying after the game and was left “incredibly” anxious.

Friday’s announcement marked a dramatic reversal of BYU’s initial response to the claims.

After the game at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo in front of a crowd of 5,000 people, BYU Athletics banned a fan who allegedly uttered the defamation and issued statements condemning the conduct.

In their latest statement, the department said the ban has been lifted.

“We have not found any evidence that that person engaged in such activity,” the statement said, adding: “BYU sincerely apologizes to that fan for the hardship caused by the ban.”

BYU said officials viewed video and audio recordings, including security footage and cameras recording the match. They also conducted interviews with more than 50 individuals attending the event, including athletics department staff and student athletes from both teams.

“As we have stated before, we do not tolerate any behavior that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. That is the reason for our immediate response and our thorough investigation,” the statement said.

NBC News has reached out to Richardson’s family members for comment on the new statement.

BYU also addressed any skepticism about their findings.

“There will be some who assume we are selective in our assessment,” the statement said. “On the contrary, we have tried to be as thorough as possible in our investigation, and we renew our invitation to anyone with evidence that conflicts with our findings to come forward and share.”

Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King doubled in defense of Richardson and her teammates.

“The 18 members of the Duke University volleyball team are exceptionally strong women who represent themselves, their families and Duke University with the utmost integrity,” King said. .”

“Duke Athletics believes in respect, equality and inclusivity, and we do not tolerate hatred and prejudice,” she said.