Hate Hoax: No Evidence To Support Duke Women’s Volleyball Player Claim She Was Called Racist Slur At BYU Match
“There is zero evidence of a slur being said. Not a single witness, besides Ms. Richardson, has come forth. Not a single cell phone video or BYUtv’s several camera angles caught a single thing.” But that didn’t stop the media from running wild with the story.
This story blew up because of course it did. According to Duke women’s volleyball player Rachel Richardson, she was called racial slurs during a game, and the university didn’t act quickly enough to suit her.
Of course, one problem with the incident is that there is, thus far, no evidence that anyone called her any names, much less a racist slur. Another is that the fan the university did eventually ban was not even banned for shouting slurs at her (because there is no evidence anyone did) but for “interfering with BYU guests.”
The banned fan is reportedly mentally impaired and was not even seated in the student section from which the racist slurs reportedly (reported only by Richardson, no one else heard them) originated.
Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson alleged over the weekend that BYU students yelled racial slurs at her.
Multiple people who were in the student section have now gone on record to say it never happened.https://t.co/cAyTc1kktB
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 31, 2022
But wait, it gets worse: One student alleges that the person BYU athletics says did it was a mentally handicapped man who was not sitting in the student section. He says that they banned an innocent person for life to make their PR mess go away.https://t.co/cAyTc1kktB
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 31, 2022
Of course, the legacy media was all over the “story,” with NBC and ABC leading the charge with misleading articles that don’t engage in even surface journalism (such as watching the tape of the game and reporting their findings).
NCAA women’s volleyball was put under a cloud of controversy over the weekend when Duke player Rachel Richardson said she was subjected to racial slurs during at a game against Brigham Young University in Utah.
Richardson said BYU officials did not react quickly enough to address the situation. BYU said the fan was not a student but was sitting in the student section and banned the fan from all athletic venues on campus.
On Tuesday, BYU officials said they were still investigating the alleged incident. BYU police Lt. George Besendorfer said an initial investigation of the footage from the crowd did not appear to show the person who was banned shouting anything while Richardson was serving.
“When we watched the video, we did not observe that behavior from him,” Besendorfer said via the Salt Lake Tribune.
BYU associate athletic director Jon McBride added that several athletics employees have been combing through all the footage the team has access to and have not found evidence of racial slurs being shouted.
“Various BYU Athletics employees have been reviewing video from BYUtv and other cameras in the facility that the volleyball team has access to for film review. This has been ongoing since right after the match on Friday night,” McBride said in a statement. “The person who was banned was the person identified by Duke as using racial slurs. However, we have been unable to find any evidence of that person using slurs in the match.”
If it’s not on the video of the game, and they have watched not just the official Duke video but also student and other video from the section where Richardson claimed the slurs originated, then it’s pretty difficult to believe it happened at all.
Here’s the full video if you are interested in watching it yourself.
Not only is the alleged incident (or series of incidents) not on tape, but not one student has come forward to say they heard the slurs. No video, no witnesses. Just Richardson claiming she heard the slurs.
The video of the match shows that Rachael Richardson served on the ROC (student section) side four times in the game, twice in the second set and twice in the fourth. A police officer can be seen standing by the ROC section monitoring the students as Richardson serves in the fourth set. Richardson did not mention this officer in her statement.
The Cougar Chronicle has been unable to find a source in the student section that can corroborate Richardson’s claim of racial slurs being yelled at her. Vera Smith, a BYU student in the student section during the game, said she “heard absolutely nothing” that could be taken as a racial slur. Jacob Hanson, also a BYU student, shared texts with the Cougar Chronicle from two friends in two different parts of the student section that also heard nothing. They said they were not aware there had been a problem until after the game.
Maddy Johnson, another BYU student who was in the ROC student section, said she did not hear any racial slur said and when she saw the individual escorted out of the arena he was in a different section. A mother of a BYU student says she personally knows five people who were in the student section during the game “One person was on the court and the others were in the first row” she told the Chronicle. None of them heard a racial slur. Two other people on the court, who wish to remain anonymous, did not hear any racial slurs.
Connor [the pseudonym for the Cougar Chronicle’s confidential source] explained what happened after the game:
“When a mentally challenged fan approached a Duke player. The Duke team then suddenly recognized the handicapped man’s ‘voice’ as the same one shouting slurs. They never saw or pointed out a face, just a voice. They banned this man. Not for slurs, but for interfering with visiting guests. BYU Athletics staff went through footage of the entire game and the man Duke identified was never seated in the student section. Her story doesn’t add up, BYU banned an innocent man to appease the mob and make their PR mess go away. While I don’t know if Ms. Richardson genuinely misheard something or intentionally made up this story, it certainly does not constitute the criticism BYU has gotten. There is zero evidence of a slur being said. Not a single witness, besides Ms. Richardson, has come forth. Not a single cell phone video or BYUtv’s several camera angles caught a single thing. How unlikely when this person supposedly said a slur during ‘every single serve.'”
The Cougar Chronicle reviewed private messages between Connor and others inside the athletic department. The messages corroborate Connor’s statement.
BYU apparently felt they had to ban someone, so they picked someone out after the game and banned him.
It’s also worth noting that Richardson’s godmother, who was the first to report the alleged incident, is running for office in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Cougar Chronicle continues:
In a second press release not posted to Twitter BYU athletics clarified the reason they banned the accused man, “Following Friday night’s volleyball game, we spent hours reviewing video of the event to try and figure out what exactly [happened]… When last night’s behavior was initially reported by Duke, there was no individual pointed out… It wasn’t until after the game that an individual was identified by Duke… That is the individual who has been banned.” Despite not finding any evidence, BYU athletics was sure to indicate they still believed Richardson. “We understand that the Duke players’ experience is what matters here. They felt unsafe and hurt, and we were unable to address that during the game in a manner that was sufficient. For that, we truly do apologize” the statement continued. The Chronicle has reached out to BYU athletics for comment but did not receive a reply by the time of this publication.
Rachel Richardson was not the only person who provided statements to the media on her experience. Marvin Richardson, Rachel’s father, claimed there was more than one person throwing slurs at his daughter. He did not attend the game.
Another relation, Rachel’s godmother Lesa Pamplin, drew attention to the story before Richardson’s statement by Tweeting “While playing yesterday [my Goddaughter] was called a n***** every time she served. She was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus.” According to her Twitter account, Pamplin is an attorney and a current candidate for a Fort Worth judicial election. Pamplin even claimed credit for making the story national news in an official campaign statement on the incident. “We should be even more outraged that it took a Tweet from me, in Tarrant County Texas, to bring this incident to light” she stated. As indicated in the statement, Pamplin was also not at the game.
I take issue with BYU’s statement that “the Duke players’ experience is what matters here. They felt unsafe and hurt, and we were unable to address that during the game in a manner that was sufficient.” It only matters if it actually happened, and so far, there is no evidence at all that it did.
Further, it is not the university’s responsibility to make anyone feel “safe” from hearing bad words or suffering hurt feelings. This kind of coddling is just ridiculous, and it always goes only one way. Where are the universities standing up for their conservative students who are routinely called fascists, Nazis, cultists, and a whole host of other unwarranted names? Oh, right, busy banning their organizations from student life and refusing to permit their chosen speakers on campus.
If it turns out that this is yet another case of #FakeHate, then Richardson is the one who needs to be disciplined, not some random fan BYU descended upon to make their bad press go away.DONATE
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