Morehouse College Athletes Respond to NCAA Referee Allowing Racist Remarks During Duke-BYU Volleyball Game 

Photo by News Observer

The more times troubling events like this get less exposure, the more frequent they are to happen.


By Clifton Dutton and Jace La Saint


On Aug. 26, Brigham Young University had a game against Duke University’s women’s volleyball team. What was thought to be the normal volleyball game by the players, came unexpected events that will be remembered by members of the Duke team. BYU fans were screaming racial slurs at some of the black players on the volleyball team.


BYU hosted the game and the officials were also staff members of the school. Duke has four black students on their women’s volleyball team, and each had all been receiving racial slurs and threats from BYU fans throughout the game. 


BYU went on to defeat Duke 3-1 likely due to the distractions made from spectators. In response to the situation, BYU went on Twitter to confirm they banned this individual from all sporting venues involving the school. While these racial slurs were screamed all game long, the game continued without refs, coaches, or players of BYU attempting to put an end to the distraction. 


With this story spreading as each day passes, Morehouse College student-athletes gave their thoughts on the situation.  


“It is an unfortunate situation,” Morehouse volleyball freshman outside hitter RJ Jackson said. “It is unfortunate that we live in a society where people can’t do basic things that they love. But, I do respect how she handled the situation.” 


Just like how racism is mixed in society, it also falls into the sports world. There have been many cases on all levels of sports where racism is present. An example of this is when we saw multiple racial targeted acts during the 2021 NBA playoffs.


College refs and team staff members have to do their best to give all their athletes the best experiences they can receive in a safe space. Coaches especially, because they take on a job of not only winning games, but caring for their players as if they were their kids. Since both sides refused to hold their responsibilities, these athletes at Duke experiences and safety were breached. 


“You would hope that someone would have the kind of heart to step in,” Morehouse football senior defensive end Tyler Hunter said. “But that’s not always the case because a lot of people will have their underlying feelings about you, and a lot of times you have to deal with that.”


Richardson and her teammates took a peaceful approach when dealing with the situation. They remained as focused as possible given the circumstance. Without anyone stepping in, it shows how deep underlying feelings people had for the black players on the Duke roster. 


“It also says a lot about the refs and NCAA.” Morehouse track and field senior Christain Pearson said. “I feel like someone definitely should have done something during the game or an immediate statement after the game. I feel like this needs to be brought to national light, because if not things like this will continue to happen.”


As the situation continues to be investigated, the season goes on for each team. Members of the Duke volleyball team have to deal with the racism they encountered and still have a successful season at the end of the day. Situations like this have to get exposure in order for problems like these to go away.


As Morehouse College athletes feel for Dukes players, they are in support of the women who have fallen victim to racism on the team. The more times troubling events like this get less exposure, the more frequent they are to happen. NCAA and BYU have to make various changes to avoid something like this ever happening again.