SC women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley had a “gut feeling” that led her to cancel the team’s home-and-home series with BYU.
“I slept onto it several nights, I woke up with exactly the same gut feeling I will not put our players for the reason that situation,” she said of her decision, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
“As a head coach, my job would be to do whats best for my players and staff,” Staley said initially. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I dont believe that this is actually the right time for all of us to activate in this series.”
The Twitter take into account BYU women’s basketball team said it had been “extremely disappointed in South Carolinas decision to cancel our series and have for patience with the on-going investigation.”
BYU Women’s Hoops @byuwbb
We have been extremely disappointed in South Carolinas decision to cancel our series and have for patience with the on-going investigation. We believe the answer is to interact to root out racism rather than to separate in one another. #LoveOneAnother
Beyond the gravity of the allegations, BYU’s handling of the problem drew some criticism.
Duke’s Rachel Richardson said game officials and members of the Cougars’ coaching staff “were made alert to the incident through the game, but didn’t take the steps needed to avoid the unacceptable behavior and develop a protected climate.”
Addressing the fans at BYU’s next home game, athletic director Tom Holmoe said during his speech, “In the event that you could have met her, you’ll have loved her,” in mention of Richardson. The comment didn’t sit well with some.
BYU Womens Volleyball @BYUwvolleyball
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe addresses fans in attendance before tonight’s game. pic.twitter.com/UH0URY7Svx
Jemele Hill @jemelehill
He had a need to call it what it had been, that is racism. Say the term and dont sugarcoat. Secondly, that whole bit about feeling different should they knew the Black woman who was simply targeted it save it. Whether you knew her or not, this is abhorrent behavior. https://t.co/l1koe0wKr5
Soledad O’Brien @soledadobrien
This apology fell short. He previously a chance to condemn racist behavior and he failed. She had not been harassed because BYU students dont know her. The slurs were racist. This is a fail by the BYU Athletic Director. https://t.co/QVpNsjYpkK
Holmoe subsequently wrote an op-ed in Deseret News and affirmed BYU finds “racism is disgusting and unacceptable.” He also defended the school’s response, saying four workers and a officer entered the student section through the game to monitor fan behavior after BYU was initially alerted to the alleged slur.
“Following the game, a Duke player identified one fan as having yelled racist remarks,” he said. “He was escorted from the arena and banned from future athletic events pending review. Additionally, BYU has continued to carefully review all event audio and video searching for any racist statements or behavior.”
SC and BYU were originally scheduled to play Nov. 7 at Colonial Life Arena, the Gamecocks’ home floor. The reigning national champions have yet to announce an upgraded opponent.