Listen to this story
Dawn Staley has always been more than a coach.
She’s an athlete, Hall of Famer, inspiration, gold medalist, role model, leader and champion. Over the last few years, she added activist to her resume.
On Friday evening, Staley put all of those talents on display when she decided to cancel South Carolina’s home-and-home series against BYU in response to the racist incident that took place last week at a Cougars volleyball game in Utah.
“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff. The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series,” said Staley in a statement.
The incident Staley is referring to took place on Friday, August 26th at BYU in the team’s game against Duke. In that game, a fan hurled racist taunts at Black Duke player Rachel Richardson.
At one point the fan even threatened the Duke team.
Judge Lesa Pamplin, Richardson’s godmother, first alerted everyone to the situation when she tweeted about it afterward.
“My Goddaughter is the only Black starter for Duke’s volleyball team,” tweeted Pamplin. “While playing yesterday, she was a call a ni**er every time she served. She was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus. A police officer had to be put by their bench.”
BYU and Duke issued a flurry of statements in the aftermath, apologizing, condemning racism and the individual involved, and letting it be known that player safety is paramount for the institutions.
This content has been brought to you by First and Pen in partnership with TheHub.News. First and Pen “amplifies local sports stories from voices of color to the national conscience…”