South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley decided to cancel a two-game series against BYU due to an alleged racist incident involving BYU volleyball that’s been under investigation since the Aug. 26 match.
Staley’s cancelation was in response to the allegation that a BYU fan hurled continuous racial slurs directed at visiting Duke women’s volleyball player Rachel Richardson during that match at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. To date, there have been no corroborating witnesses or evidence that this occurred.
Staley first announced her decision on Friday, as OutKick’s Ian Miller reported. She commented more on her decision Sunday, appearing at Darlington Raceway as the honorary pace car driver for the Southern 500, as relayed by The Salt Lake Tribune.
“I slept on it a few nights; I woke up with the same gut feeling I should not put our players in that situation,” Staley said.
Dawn Staley’s ‘Selfish’ Move
Staley admitted to deciding without the input of her players, stating that it was a “selfish” decision made in her team’s best interest. The first game was scheduled for November and the second for the 2023 season.
“I didn’t do it to condemn BYU. This was a selfish decision,” Staley added Sunday.
“I was only thinking about South Carolina women’s basketball. I wanted to handle it on my own and didn’t involve anyone else. I wanted to make sure our players didn’t have to endure that.
“If something were to happen in that manner, I don’t have the words to comfort them. I’d rather just not put ourselves in that situation.”
Aside from referencing South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner’s support, Staley was ambiguous over who she spoke with to reach her decision.
While details of BYU’s investigation remain behind closed doors as of now, the media seemingly has continued the narrative that the incident happened as Richardson described despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
The 19-year-old sophomore Duke player alleged that racial slurs were shouted at a volume where she could hear it on the court during her serves. BYU police have outright denied any evidence supporting the claim after checking the match’s footage. A conservative student newspaper detailed an unnamed source from inside the BYU athletic department saying the school doubts the incident happened. Additionally, testimonies from on the ground provided by The Cougar Chronicle support that no slurs were heard. It has also been verified the person banned from BYU after the event was not banned for racial slurs.
It appeared when Staley elaborated on her decision at Darlington Raceway, not one person in the media asked her about the facts surrounding the allegations. ESPN did not offer any of this context when reporting on Staley’s decision.
Few Details From BYU
BYU has stayed mum on the identity of the person who was banned.
OutKick has reached out to BYU for the stated reason behind the ban and has not received a response.
Staley’s original statement on the canceled series read, “As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff. The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”
BYU Cougars athletic director Tom Holmoe has strongly condemned the alleged act, including eliminating the ROC (“Roar of Cougars”) student section for the Nike Invitational hosted at Smith Fieldhouse this past weekend.
After hearing of Staley’s decision to cancel the two-game slate against BYU, Holmoe said the move was not conducive to rooting out racism.
“We are extremely disappointed in South Carolina’s decision to cancel our series and ask for patience with the ongoing investigation,” Holmoe said. “We believe the solution is to work together to root out racism and not to separate from one another.”
OutKick The Show: Dawn Staley Is Social Justice Warrior Posturing
Clay Travis: “All of the evidence suggests that this story is made-up — it’s Jussie Smollett on a volleyball court. Dawn Staley is the epitome of social justice warrior posturing. This is mob rule in a woke universe.”