Just one month after allegations of racism during a BYU volleyball match became a national story, the university has been hit with new allegations of racism. These most recent allegations involve the BYU soccer program, fans, and a noteworthy timeline.
Five women’s soccer players from an unidentified opposing team have alleged to The Guardian that fans shouted racial slurs at them ahead of a match at BYU in 2021. The players alleged that fans shouted the n-word at certain members of the team. Those players knelt during the playing of the national anthem.
“I just remember that there was like a consistent chant of ‘stand up, N-words’ during the anthem and right after,” one of the players told the outlet. “And when brought to the attention of the BYU coaching staff there was no real response or sense of, like, alarm.
“I felt disappointed but not surprised,” the same player added. “Backlash for kneeling was not new for our group but to hear that in person was shocking. I think both the fans and coaching staff knew we wouldn’t cancel the game after the incident, which once again shows this could be part of a bigger cultural issue within BYU as an institution.”
Four of the unidentified player’s teammates confirmed that they also heard the chants from the crowd.
Jon McBride, BYU’s associate athletic director for communications, told the outlet that the school did respond “to a concern from the [visiting team] about fan reaction when players knelt during the national anthem” with a public announcement made to fans in attendance.
The BYU coach reportedly was informed of the chants. She “seemed shocked and did ask” for the announcement to be made at the game.
Timing Of New BYU Racism Allegations Is Noteworthy
Just last month, Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson alleged that she heard racial slurs while serving in front of BYU’s student section in a match on August 26.
After both teams’ coaches were made aware of the situation, a police officer got involved. A fan was eventually removed from the stands and banned from future matches. Richardson alleged the fan shouted the n-word at her.
BYU conducted an investigation looking into the allegations and found no evidence to support Richardson’s claims.
The university’s investigation included interviews with more than 50 eyewitnesses including players from both teams and athletic department staff. BYU also stated that it extensively reviewed video and audio from the match.
“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,” BYU’s statement read in part. “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.”
While more details of these new soccer-related allegations will surely be uncovered, the timing of them, on the surface alone, is interesting.