Photo: Getty
  /  08.28.2022

Duke University volleyball player Rachel Richardson will soon share her side of the story after being called an N-word during a game Friday (Aug. 26) night. The sophomore and her fellow Blue Devils teammates were competing in a match against Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah when the incident unfolded.

According to Lesa Pamplin, Richardson’s godmother, an individual sitting in the BYU student section of the crowd repeatedly called the outside hitter the N-word when she was up to serve. “My goddaughter is the only Black starter for Duke’s volleyball team. While playing yesterday, she was called an N-word every time she served… She was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus,” she tweeted.

In a follow-up tweet, Pamplin continued, “Not one freaking adult did anything to protect her. I’m looking at you @BYU. You allowed this racist behavior to continue without intervening. Apologizing to her parents after the fact is not enough. She will soon be sharing her story.”

The student-athlete’s father, Marvin Richardson, spoke with The New York Times. He told the publication that his daughter cried on the phone while recounting the moments the racial slur was hurled at her. “It’s 2022, and we’re dealing with 1960s issues,” he said. 

In a statement released Saturday (Aug. 27), BYU said the person responsible for yelling the racial slur had been identified and indefinitely banned from the school’s sporting venues. The university also disclosed that the individual was not a BYU student despite being seated with current students. 

In their statement, BYU condemned the person’s actions, stating that they were disheartened and would not tolerate that kind of behavior. “All of God’s children deserve love and respect,” it began. “The use of a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable, and BYU Athletics holds a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior. We wholeheartedly apologize to Duke University and especially its student-athletes.”

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