Media reactions to BYU chaos without waiting for evidence lead to poor decisions.
It has been an amusing week as news reports circulated about the terrible incident in which racial epithets were hurled at an athlete at a Brigham Young University volleyball match on August 26th. Rachel Richardson, the only black member of the Duke visiting team, explains that she was the victim of racist abuses while she played on the court.
Richardson claimed she was hated for serving near the BYU student sections. She even pointed out who it was. This person was removed from campus and banned from participating in any future events. The internet was abuzz with news and media coverage.
Official statement from BYU Athletics. pic.twitter.com/5bIwXNwr7J
— BYU Cougars (@BYUCougars) August 27, 2022
Then, days later, it seems that none of these claimed sensitivities may have actually occurred.
The press was busy describing the savage acts and pontificating about what they all meant, but they didn’t wait to find out if it actually happened. A thorough investigation into the game’s history was done. There was much contradictory evidence or, better yet, a complete lack of evidence.
Richardson was very specific about the time she took in these insults during the game, particularly at the times she served next to that section. The game would only be half of it since the teams switched sides and a study was done on the game film. The individual was not present in the first section of the game when she said that the person insulted her. Other times, Richardson was not aware of the individual’s presence and they were seen using their phones.
There was also the fact that she said insults had increased during a later phase of the game after lodging a complaint to her coaches and officials. A police officer stood between the players and the Duke bench at this point. The officer stated that they had not heard any objectionable language. This story seems to have no tangible roots.
Journalists continued to rush to their computers and to social media to brag about the “racist episode.”
“I have 4 daughters that play the game, 3 at the college level. We’ve always had that occasional idiot in the crowd, but never an atmosphere like this.”
— Marvin Richardson, father of Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson who was called racial slurs during a match at BYU pic.twitter.com/vFztPJQbt4
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 29, 2022
Jemele Hill was also part of the outrage. Jay Bilas, ESPN’s resident hysteric, was at his usual maniacal best. USA Today declared Richardson a national hero. All this is about an incident that nobody can verify.
It has now escalated to an absurd level. According to reports, Coach Dawn Staley announced that she would cancel all scheduled games between her team (BYU) and herself.
“As a head coaching position, my job is to make the best decisions for my players and staff. “The incident at BYU led me to reevaluate my home-and-home and I don’t believe this is the right moment for us to engage with this series.”
It could be interpreted as a coach doing the right thing for her team, but it is full of contradictions. The racial incident does not seem to have occurred, just to be clear. Staley is also a coach of women’s basketball. She is thirdly a coach at the University of South Carolina, not at Duke. Despite this apparent disconnect, she is still being praised for her position.
The USA Today article detailing Staley’s decision does not mention the racist actions being “alleged”. It is important to have the opportunity to smuggle about racism. The possibility that it did not occur is secondary.