PROVO, Utah (WNCN) — A Brigham Young University investigation revealed that the university did not find any evidence of a fan saying racial slurs at the BYU volleyball game against Duke University last month.
On Aug. 26, Duke University’s volleyball team played against BYU. During the match, a fan was accused of yelling racial slurs during the game, according to a Duke player’s godmother.
Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson later posted a statement on Twitter, saying that she was “targeted and racially heckled” during the match.
On Friday, BYU announced that its investigation into the incident was completed. BYU said they reviewed all video and audio recordings, including security footage of the game.
“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,” the university said in a statement.
BYU also said the ban on the fan who was identified as uttering racial slurs was lifted.
BYU also said that if new information is revealed about the incident, the investigation will be reopened.
BYU’s full statement is as follows:
“As part of our commitment to take any claims of racism seriously, BYU has completed its investigation into the allegation that racial heckling and slurs took place at the Duke vs. BYU women’s volleyball match on August 26. We reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles taken by BYUtv of the match, with broadcasting audio removed (to ensure that the noise from the stands could be heard more clearly). We also reached out to more than 50 individuals who attended the event: Duke athletic department personnel and student-athletes, BYU athletic department personnel and student-athletes, event security and management and fans who were in the arena that evening, including many of the fans in the on-court student section.
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. 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.
As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as having uttered racial slurs during the match. We have not found any evidence that that individual engaged in such an activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to that fan for any hardship the ban has caused.
Our fight is against racism, not against any individual or any institution. Each person impacted has strong feelings and experiences, which we honor, and we encourage others to show similar civility and respect. We remain committed to rooting out racism wherever it is found. We hope we can all join together in that important fight.
There will be some who assume we are being selective in our review. To the contrary, we have tried to be as thorough as possible in our investigation, and we renew our invitation for anyone with evidence contrary to our findings to come forward and share it.
Despite being unable to find supporting evidence of racial slurs in the many recordings and interviews, we hope that all those involved will understand our sincere efforts to ensure that all student-athletes competing at BYU feel safe. As stated by Athletics Director Tom Holmoe, BYU and BYU Athletics are committed to zero-tolerance of racism, and we strive to provide a positive experience for everyone who attends our athletic events, including student-athletes, coaches and fans, where they are valued and respected.”
Duke also released the following statement:
“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. 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.” #HateWontLiveHere
WNCN has reached out to Rachel Richardson’s father and is waiting to hear back.