Last Updated on September 3, 2022
Without evidence, South Carolina Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley has cancelled her team’s games with Brigham-Young University (BYU) this season over an alleged use of a racial slur. Duke University volleyball player Rachel Richardson claimed a BYU fan called her racial slurs during a recent game, though her accusations have not been verified. Despite a total lack of evidence, BYU opted to ban a spectator for life after Duke players accused him of ushering slurs.
South Carolina women’s basketball was slated to open their season with a home game against BYU, followed by an away game on BYU’s campus in the 2023/24 season. These games have now been cancelled, as Staley has refused to field her team.
“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a press release. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”
Staley’s decision comes after Duke Volleyball player Rachel Richardson, who is black, claimed a white BYU fan called her a racial slur during a game. Richardson also claims the fan told her to “watch her back” and followed her to the team bus after the game.
Richardson claims that a male fan yelled out the n-word every time it was her turn to serve.
After the allegations were brought forward and spread through social media, the university banned a man from attending games for life. Fans in the surrounding area pushed back on Richardson’s claims, however, saying that they didn’t hear any racial slurs during the game.
Witnesses also said that the Duke accusers never actually saw the man yell the n-word but only identified his voice.
The BYU Police Department has been unable to verify Richardson’s claims, even though the accused man has already been banned. The department sorted through all available surveillance and mobile phone footage in order to monitor the fan’s behavior throughout the game. Upon review, BYU police have been unable to uncover any evidence of the behavior he has been accused of.
‘When we watched the video, we did not observe that behavior from him,’ BYU Police Lt. George Besendorfer told the Salt Lake Tribune. A BYU officer also agreed. ‘There was nothing seen on the game film that led me to believe’ that the man ‘was the person who was making comments to the player who complained about being called the N-word,’ the officer said.
Despite a total lack of evidence, the university has stood by its banning of the fan from all BYU athletic events going forward. Additionally, the university issued an apology to Duke and also moved to eliminate the student fan section from its volleyball matches.
The University of South Carolina meanwhile has stood by Staley’s decision to cancel her team’s games with BYU. “Dawn and I have discussed her thoughts on the situation,” said South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner. “I support Dawn and all of our coaches in their right to schedule games and opponents that are best for their teams.”
Dawn Staley has used her platform to champion leftist causes on numerous occasions in the past. Since January 2021, Staley’s team has refused to take the floor for the national anthem before games. The protest is intended to “bring awareness to racial injustice in our country,” according to Staley.
The team even stuck with their protest during a Final Four game, as well as the NCCAW Basketball championship tilt.
In June 2020, Staley justified the violent BLM riots that caused millions in property damage and left more than 30 dead across the nation. “When you’re a black person, you’re forced to see race,” she said. “You’re forced to see the color of your skin by what’s done to you and said to you. Where we are today, with the riots, I don’t think the people rioting really understand how to be heard or how to converse. Because whoever is on the other side of that conversation, they’re not talking, they are not listening and they are not doing. So this is how people are lashing out.”