Duke volleyball’s Rachel Richardson says BYU slow to respond to racial slurs

The Duke volleyball player, who was subjected to racial slurs during a game at BYU, said Sunday that officials at the scene did not respond quickly enough when made aware of the behavior during the game.

They also didn’t adequately address the situation immediately after the game, Rachel Richardson said in a Statement posted on her Twitter account.

“No athlete, regardless of race, should ever be subjected to such hostile conditions,” said Richardson, the only black starter on the Blue Devils team.

BYU banned a fan from all athletic venues on campus Saturday, the day after the game, and said the athletic department had a “zero-tolerance approach to this behavior.” The fan was not a student, but sat in the student section.

Richardson’s godmother Lesa Pamplin had tweeted that during the game Richardson was called a racial slur “every time she served.” She also wrote that Richardson “was threatened by a white man who told her to watch her walk to the team bus. A police officer had to be put at their bench.”

Richardson, a 19-year-old sophomore from Ellicott City, Maryland, wrote that she didn’t believe fan actions were a reflection of BYU athletes, saying that their opponents showed respect and sportsmanship and that BYU- Sporting director Tom Holmoe was quick to respond once notified.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened in collegiate athletics, and unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last,” Richardson said. “Any time it happens, we as student athletes, coaches, fans and administrators have a chance to enlighten those who are engaging in hateful behavior.”

Richardson also responded to the idea that some people would have liked to see a quick response from Duke’s team, such as refusing to continue playing, which resulted in a 3-1 win for BYU.

“Although the heckling eventually took a mental toll on me, I refused to let it stop me from doing what I love to do and what I came to BYU to do: play volleyball,” Richardson said. “I refused to allow these racist bigots to feel any satisfaction that their comments had ‘come to me.’ So I persevered and finished the game.

“Therefore, on behalf of my African American teammates and I, we do not wish to be pitied or viewed as helpless. We don’t feel like victims of a tragic, inevitable event. We are proud to be young African American women; we’re proud to be Duke athletes, and we’re proud to stand up against racism.”

Duke had moved his Saturday game against Rider from BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse to another location in Provo, Utah. Richardson led the Blue Devils to a 3-1 win with three aces.

Later Sunday, Duke issued a statement saying, “We stand against any form of racism, bigotry or hatred. As a program, we have worked hard to create an inclusive and safe environment where our student-athletes feel heard and supported, but not naïve to the fact that there is always something to do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/34476846/duke-volleyball-rachel-richardson-says-byu-slow-respond-racial-slurs Duke volleyball’s Rachel Richardson says BYU slow to respond to racial slurs

Emma Bowman

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