DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A Duke University student and volleyball player and her father are speaking out after the student, Rachel Richardson, said she was called racial slurs — and was even threatened at a game out of state.
Rachel’s father, Marvin Richardson, said officials and coaches during the game did not act quick enough to stop what was happening, and now he wants things to change.
“We don’t want to go backward in this country,” he said. “I don’t want my children to have to deal with the kind of blatant racism that I dealt with growing up as a young child.”
Richardson said his daughter, a sophomore, was racially harassed and even threatened at Friday’s game at Brigham Young University while coaches and officials stood by.
“They did nothing to stop the behavior while it was going on, nor remove anyone who was exhibiting the behavior while it was going on,” he said.
Rachel released a statement on Twitter saying, in part, that the slurs and threats made her and other players feel unsafe.
Brigham Young University also released a statement, saying one fan, who was not a student at the school, was banned from sporting events. Their athletic director later spoke at a game, promising changes moving forward.
But Rachel’s father said apologizing after the fact is too late.
“When something is happening that is wrong, we have got to call it out, we can’t just stand by,” Richardson said. “When we stand by passively, that in and of itself is a form of approval.”
Richardson said time will tell whether changes are really made to make sporting events a space where players can focus on one thing: competing.
“In the end, the proof is in the actions, so hopefully this kind of thing will not happen again, if there’s anything I’d like to see come out of it, at any college sporting event,” Richardson said.
Duke University also released a statement on Twitter saying in part that all student-athletes should be able to compete in inclusive environments.