African American Volleyball Player for Duke University Subjected to Racial Slurs by Fan in Utah

An African American volleyball player for Duke University was repeatedly heckled with a racial slur every time she went back to serve near the student section during a match against Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. When officials at the arena were told about the abuse, they did not act to end it in a timely matter and the racial abuse continued throughout the match, according to Duke officials.

Rachel Richardson, a 19-year-old sophomore from Endicott, Maryland, stated on social media that “no athlete, regardless of their race should ever be subject to such hostile conditions.”  Richardson said that the officials and the BYU coaching staff were made aware of the incident during the game, but failed to take the necessary steps to stop the unacceptable behavior and create a safe environment. Richardson added that “I refused to allow those racist bigots to feel any degree of satisfaction from thinking that their comments had ‘gotten to me,’ So, I pushed through and finished the game.”

Brigham Young won the match, 3 sets to 1.

The fan, who was not a student at Brigham Young, was identified and banned from the arena a day after the incident. Duke’s match against Rider University the next day was moved to an alternate location and was only open to staff and family.


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