Ethics Alarms mentioned this nauseating but significant story briefly last week, here. Obviously it warrants more consideration, depressing though the conclusions might be.
At an August 26 volleyball match, match on Aug. 26, Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson’s claimed that she and her African American team mates targeted with repeated racial slurs from a crowd of more than 5,500 people the the Brigham Young University arena in Provo, Utah. Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, was not at the match but still told the media that someone yelled “nigger” every single time Rachel was serving. Her father, Marvin Richardson, told The New York Times that the slur was repeatedly yelled from the stands at his daughter.
Well, they said it happened, so it must be true.
Moving with unseemly speed, BYU authorities fingered a fan pointed out by Richardson as the racist culprit and announced that he would be banned from Cougars’ sporting events evermore. Duke’s athletics director Nina King quickly said that her players “should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment which promotes equality and fair play.” University of South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, racing to grandstand, canceled all her team’s games against BYU, since its fans are obviously racists.
“I’m disgusted that this behavior is happening and deeply saddened if others didn’t step up to stop it,” Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox tweeted on August 27 without know what happened. “As a society we have to do more to create an atmosphere where racist assholes like this never feel comfortable attacking others. ESPN resident race-baiter Stephen Smith was in high dudgeon. “I’m saying BYU- you did it!” Smith said on the air. “By allowing this to happen and not addressing expeditiously, not addressing it with a level of quickness and speed that you should’ve addressed this with.”
They banned the alleged racist before the game was over—how much faster could BYU have been?
Mike Freeman, the race and inequality editor for the sports section at USA Today, wrote a column on August 27 in which he called Richardson a “hero” and demanded an investigation. “What needs to happen next is a full investigation by BYU. If the school simply tries to move on with nothing but a statement that simply isn’t acceptable,” he wrote. “They need to interview players and coaches and the question consistently needs to be asked: why wasn’t the game stopped?”
Oopsie! They had the investigation, and found no evidence whatsoever that anyone was shouting racial slurs in the stands. Video showed that the fan BYU banned wasn’t shouting anything when Richardson was serving. Gee, the school said, we’re sorry for calling you a racist! Come back and cheer for us any time!