BYU: No Evidence Fan Used Racial Slurs Toward Duke Volleyball Player

Brigham Young University released its findings following an “extensive review” of the Aug. 26 match against Duke.
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  • Duke’s Rachel Richardson said that she and other Black teammates were “racially heckled” during an Aug. 26 match at BYU.
  • BYU said its investigation found no evidence that racial heckling or slurs were used during the match.
  • That investigation reviewed video recordings of the match and interviewed players, spectators, and athletic personnel.

Brigham Young University (BYU) says their investigation into an Aug. 26 volleyball match against Duke University found no evidence of a BYU fan using slurs.

After that match, Duke starter Rachel Richardson said she and her other Black teammates were targeted by a BYU fan with racial heckling. The next day, BYU Athletics publicly condemned racism, apologized, and banned the fan from all BYU athletic venues.

Late Friday, however, BYU released a statement disputing Richardson’s claims and announcing it had lifted the ban on the fan accused of using racial slurs.

"From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event,” BYU said in its statement. “As we stated earlier, we would not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. That is the reason for our immediate response and our thorough investigation."

That investigation reviewed all available video and audio recordings from the match, which included security footage and raw footage taken by BYUtv, the university said. Broadcast audio was removed so that noise from the fan section could be heard clearer, BYU said.

BYU said investigators also interviewed more than 50 people who were at the match, including members of the Duke athletic department and student-athletes, the BYU athletic department and student-athletes, event security and management, and fans from the event.

Following the BYU statement, Duke Athletic Director Nina King said the university stands by Richardson and the rest of Duke’s volleyball team.

“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,” she said in a statement. “We unequivocally stand with and champion them, especially when their character is called into question. Duke Athletics believes in respect, equality and inclusiveness, and we do not tolerate hate and bias.”