In an interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe that aired on Tuesday, Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson discussed how a sequence of racial epithets used during a match last week at BYU became a major news issue and how it affected her life.
Rachel Richardson of Duke volleyball compliments BYU AD for his actions following the racial slur incident involving a Cougars fan
On Sunday, two days after supporters hurled racial epithets at her while she was in the military, Richardson shared a message on Twitter. She wrote at the time, “No athlete, whatever of their race, should ever be put to such harsh conditions. A day after the game, BYU banned a fan from all campus athletic facilities and declared that the athletic department takes a “zero-tolerance approach to this behavior.”
Despite not being a student, the fan was seated in the student area. Rowe was informed by Richardson that the incidents began in the second set when she was serving. She claimed that while she was used to audiences attempting to intimidate rival players, things were different that evening. Richardson reported, “I heard a very strong, terrible racial slur.”
“I thus served the ball and completed the play. When I returned to serve the following time, I heard it very clear once more, but the game was over at that point.” The teams allegedly switched sides of the floor when she alerted her coaches about the incident in between games.
She claimed to have seen her coaches conversing with BYU officials, who she believed were responding to the event. Richardson added, “We were told that someone was speaking to the student section and I was all right, so that was the end of it. And on the other side of the net from them, we played our third set.
She claimed that “the atmosphere of the student section had altered” in the fourth set. The taunts and jeers from the audience, according to Richardson, were “harsher, more intense.” She claimed that the person who was ultimately barred from BYU athletics was videotaping events on his phone and that “he in particular just made us feel extremely uncomfortable.”
Richardson went back to the team hotel following the contest, in which BYU won three sets to one. The following Blue Devils’ game, against Rider, was shifted to a different site. Richardson commended Tom Holmoe, the BYU athletic director, who she said met her the following morning at the team’s hotel for a chat.
He’s definitely one of the most sincere guys I’ve ever met, I can say that she remarked. Richardson said Holmoe informed her he’d address the student section to “make players feel more comfortable in general.” Holmoe subsequently said, “I felt obliged to talk to our fans in attendance and address last night’s extremely terrible situation.
At our BYU athletic events, Cougar Nation, we must do better and muster the guts to look out for one another and our guests. Beginning with a soccer game on Monday, BYU has altered its fan code of conduct. In the future, volleyball spectators will not be seated behind the opposition on the baseline.
Since the incident, Richardson has been a busy man, returning to Duke to start his classes. Rowe and she spoke following a finance class. Richardson stated, “I believe God puts you in places at certain times, next to certain individuals for specific reasons.
“And I firmly think that God had a plan behind it, as do my teammates, who say that, for some reason, my name was the one that went viral. And perhaps he understood that I would be able to interact with people in a compassionate manner for that reason. Furthermore, I don’t want BYU to be singled out or painted as a negative organization because of this one incident, which doesn’t represent the entire BYU campus.
She is aware that many people will focus on the Cameron Crazies, the student section for Duke basketball, who are renowned for being among the most hostile home fans in sports. But she claimed that at Duke, things would be different. “Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] shut the game down the minute something like this happened at a basketball game, went and got the mic and was like, if you’re doing that, you need to get out or [we’re] halting the game,” Richardson added.
Rowe was informed by Holmoe that BYU conducts internal racial and equality education inside the athletic department and is working on expanding to students and spectators. Additionally, he stated that moving forwards, the school would give coaches and student-athletes the authority to halt a game and refuse to continue until problems were investigated and remedied.
Richardson stated on Twitter that she preferred not to have the game stopped because “I wouldn’t permit those bigoted racists to have any satisfaction from believing that their remarks had “gotten to me.” I persevered and completed the game.” She admitted to Rowe that she was happy with her choice.
Richardson asserted that “I believe that meeting anger with anger just starts a cycle of more anger.” “As a young Black woman in America, I know that I don’t have the privilege of responding all the time because otherwise, it portrays that face of, oh, you’re just another angry Black woman, and you know, my Black male counterparts, they also don’t have that privilege because otherwise, it’s just, oh, that’s just like an aggressive angry Black man.”
She claimed that her parents had taught her to be respectful and to “be aware of how you’re being perceived.” “Considering that’s just another Black person, I guess. No, they must respect me because I am a person, and they must look at me as such “Added Richardson.
“And in that game, that’s exactly what I wanted. I had the option to turn around and retort with foul language. I had a lot of options. I had the opportunity to be impolite to the athletic director when he came to meet with me in person.” I could have spoken to the BYU coach in a harsh manner, but that is not a good idea.
I might be blaming someone and demanding that BYU volleyball be banned. I want to deny them that victory. No, that won’t help anyone, so don’t do it. That won’t do anything. And that would simplify everything back to just one circumstance. “It was just a lousy circumstance that was handled poorly,” Richardson continued.
However, people have expressed regret. We can overcome it and go on. We are now acting proactively. We are now moving on the correct path. We can move past that now. I’ve already told the coach and the athletic director that I forgive them and that it wasn’t their fault that the incident occurred. Your fans were there. Therefore, you did not wrong me in any way.
According to Richardson, she has heard from BYU volleyball players, athletes, and students. She remarked, “I don’t even want them to feel ashamed by it. The fact that they felt comfortable enough to get in touch with me and let me know that they still supported me just goes to show how amazing of people they really are, even though it’s awful what happened there.
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