When a racial slur is used during a college volleyball game, a fan is asked to leave.
A women’s volleyball game on Saturday had to be moved because a racial slur was used against a Black Duke University player during a game the night before.
A racial slur was said to a Black Duke University women’s volleyball player during a game in Utah on Friday night. This caused Brigham Young University to ban a fan from sporting events and Duke University to move a tournament game to a different location on Saturday.
In an interview late Saturday night, the Duke volleyball player’s father, Marvin Richardson, said that a slur was repeatedly shouted from the stands while his daughter was serving, making her worry that “the loud crowd” could turn violent.
Mr. Richardson said that his daughter cried on the phone to him about what happened on Friday night.
In the interview, Mr. Richardson said, “Here we are.” He grew up in Fort Worth when it was still desegregating. “It’s 2022, but we’re still having problems from the 1960s.”
A police officer was put on Duke’s bench after what happened.
In a statement, the B.Y.U. athletics department said that the banned fan was sitting in the student section at the game in Provo, Utah, but was not a student. A B.Y.U. spokesman said that the ban applied to all university sports events, but he didn’t know if a time frame had been set.
The statement said that Brigham Young was “extremely disappointed” by the actions of “a small number of fans” and that “using a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable.”
The statement said, “We apologize from the bottom of our hearts to Duke University and especially to its student-athletes.”
According to a report from February 2021 by a university committee that looked into race on campus, B.Y.U. has had trouble creating a welcoming environment for its students of color because less than 1% of its students are black.
The report found that the university didn’t do enough to support its few students of color, didn’t do enough to bring in and keep students from different backgrounds, and had a faculty that was much less diverse than the national average, with less than 7% of faculty members being people of color.
Duke University said in a statement that the game against Rider University on Saturday was moved from Brigham Young’s George Albert Smith Fieldhouse to a place in Provo that would be safer for both teams.
The game, which was only open to staff and family, was part of the same tournament, the doTERRA Classic, in which BYU played Duke. BYU won by a score of 3-1.
Nina King, Duke’s vice president and director of athletics, said in the statement, “Our first and most important goal is the health and safety of our student-athletes.” “They should always be able to compete in an environment that is open to everyone, doesn’t tolerate racism, and encourages fair play.”
Mr. Richardson said he told his daughter that if she ever found herself in a similar situation again, she should tell someone in charge right away. But his 19-year-old daughter told him that the crowd scared her and that the safest thing to do would be to keep her head down and keep playing.
He said that she not only felt the sting of the insults, but also the fear of the crowd. “Because the crowd was getting louder and the insults kept coming, she wanted to answer back, but she told me she was afraid that if she did, the rowdy crowd might turn into a mob.”
He didn’t want people to bother his daughter, so he said she shouldn’t have had to deal with that. Mr. Richardson said that it was up to the home team, including the coach, to make sure the visitors felt safe.
“I’ve seen coaches, from Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary coach of the Duke men’s basketball team, who just retired, to preschool coaches, take the microphone, walk up to the crowd, tell them what is and isn’t okay to do, and ask them to leave if they can’t show respect for their guests,” he said.
“Friday night, that did not happen.”
Jon McBride, a spokesman for BYU, said in an email sent late Saturday that when Duke first told security and staff about the behavior, they couldn’t figure out who was making the slurs. Mr. McBride said that Duke didn’t find the person who was later banned until after the game.
“What’s important here is the experience of the Duke players,” he said. “They felt unsafe and hurt, and we couldn’t deal with that in a good enough way during the game. We’re really sorry about that, and we’re looking at our processes and procedures to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
Mr. Richardson said that his daughter, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, is a strong and dynamic leader who played against Rider on Saturday night. He said that the game had been moved to a safer place, like a high school gym.
He said, “She’s still dealing with it, but she’s doing it the best way she knows how: by focusing on what she’s there to do, which is help her team win.”
Duke beat Rider 3 games to 1 on Saturday night in a high school gym with a small crowd.