According to a new report by The Guardian, Brigham Young University is yet again facing allegations of racism. Five women’s soccer players from an opposing team claimed that the audience called them the N-word during a 2021 game at the school.
The players decided to kneel during the national anthem to speak out against racial injustice when they said the crowd screamed out the racial slur. One of the players, who remains anonymous in the piece, explained to The Guardian:
“I just remember that there was like a consistent chant of ‘stand up, N-words’ during the anthem and right after. 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. 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.”
In addition, four other players said they also heard the slur being yelled at them. Jon McBride, the university’s Associate Athletic Director for Communications and Media Strategy, told The Guardian the crowd was reminded to show respect but didn’t realize they said the N-word.
“We are not aware of any additional concerns being brought up during the game or any time thereafter,” McBride explained. “As we have stated, BYU will not tolerate racism in any form.”
In August, Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson alleged that BYU staff did nothing when her and her Black teammates were on the receiving end of “slurs [that] grew into threats which caused us to feel unsafe.” Richardson also stated that the school’s officials “failed to take the necessary steps to stop the unacceptable behavior and create a safe environment.”
BYU said they failed to find evidence of racist behavior that supported Richardson’s claims.