Controversy erupted during a recent volleyball match between BYU and Duke when the family of one of the players involved, Rachel Richardson, claimed racial slurs were yelled at her.
“My Goddaughter is the only Black starter for Dukes volleyball team,” Lesa Pamplin wrote on Twitter.
“While playing yesterday, she was called a n— every time she served. She was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus. A police officer had to be put by their bench.”
Richardson’s father, Marvin Richardson, seemed to back that up.
“Why wasn’t the fan removed?” he asked in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.
“After the notification was made to officials and the coaching staff was made aware, why wasn’t something done then? That would be my question. I’ve attend university basketball games at Duke, and when something got out of hand, Coach K picked up the mic and said, ‘Hey knock it off.’ Why didn’t that happen here?”
Rachel then offered a statement of her own on social media:
— rachel ♡ (@rachrich03) August 28, 2022
The entire incident would prove to have lasting ramifications. BYU apologized and Duke wound up changing the location of their next outing.
A fan — who was originally accused of being the one to yell slurs at Rachel — was banned.
On Wednesday, an interesting update to the story emerged. It would appear that video evidence contradicted the claim that the fan who was banned was actually yelling racial slurs.
“Brigham Young University is still investigating the racist slurs yelled at a Duke volleyball player last week — in part because campus police say it doesn’t appear the man who was eventually banned was the person shouting the N-word,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“BYU Police Lt. George Besendorfer said Tuesday that based on an initial review of surveillance footage of the crowd, the individual who was banned wasn’t shouting anything while the Duke player was serving.”
The individual who was “identified” as “the same one who yelled the N-word from the BYU student section” consistently maintained that he was wrongly accused.
Video seemed to corroborate that.
“There was nothing seen on the game film that led me to believe” that the guy “was the person who was making comments to the player who complained about being called the N-word,” a police officer wrote in a report.
Therefore, the mystery surrounding this incident continues.
This has been a crazy year for collegiate sports in general. Between troubling DM controversies engulfing coaches and Heisman frontrunners getting their bedroom preferences exposed it has been one thing after another.
This most recent mess is just par for the course.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/3Yr8LgNG6i
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 31, 2022
Will the authorities be able to get to the bottom of this mystery and ensure that justice is ultimately served?
Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.