“Friday night during our game against Brigham Young University my African American teammates and I were racially targeted and heckled throughout the game,” Richardson tweeted.
In a statement Saturday, Duke University vice president and athletic director Nina King referenced “extremely unfortunate circumstances” during Friday’s game at BYU as the reason for changing the venue for a Saturday game. In the statement, King said student-athletes should be able to compete in “an inclusive and anti-racist environment.”
Watching the game on TV at the Richardson family home, Marvin Richardson said he had “no idea” what happened during the game, but his daughter explained her experience to him in detail through the following.
“After the game, we [Rachel and I] still talking and she called, but it was a different call,” Marvin told CNN’s New Day. She was crying, she was upset and Rachel is not the person who calls and cries over a loss, that’s just not who she is.
“So we knew something was wrong and as she started telling us what was going on and what had happened during the game, first [we felt] anger, outrage and just a real need to make sure something was done to fix the things that happened to us.”
BYU issued an apology via Twitter on Saturday, but did not confirm details of the incident, and said it had banned a fan from all sports venues. According to the statement, the fan was not a BYU student, but was seated in BYU’s student section.
Richardson said in a statement Saturday that BYU officials and coaching staff were made aware of the incident during the game, “but did not take the necessary steps to end the unacceptable behavior and create a safe environment. “.
Even after the incident was brought to their attention, Richardson said BYU officials “did not adequately respond to the situation,” a sentiment that was echoed by his father.
BYU Women’s Volleyball was not immediately available for comment.
“No student athlete should have to go to a venue and be subjected to that kind of atmosphere,” said Marvin Richardson.
“You want a loud crowd if you’re the home team, that’s fantastic, but when it crosses that line it becomes the responsibility of those in authority to ensure the atmosphere remains safe and free. all those kinds of elements that would prohibit people from playing at their highest level.
“What I would like to see in the future is that we do everything we can to make sure these places are safe and free from this kind of action and when it happens it is removed – immediately I’ve been to places where coaches have taken a mic and said, ‘Stop it. If you don’t stop him, we’re going to have you kicked out of here.”
“It’s an action you can take right now, stop it while it’s happening. It didn’t happen and I think we can always do more.
“We’ve been in volleyball for 30 years, I’ve got four daughters who’ve played the game, we’ve always had this occasional idiot who’s just there in the crowd, but never an atmosphere like this where she said that she was scared.”