Brigham Young University is facing new allegations of racism, The Guardian reported Friday.
In a report from Nathan Kalman-Lamb and Derek Silva of The Guardian, five women’s soccer players “from a visiting team” who played against BYU in 2021 said that “they heard the N-word being directed at them and their teammates from the crowd.”
The players had knelt during the national anthem to protest racial and social injustice.
“I just remember that there was like a consistent chant of ‘stand up, N-words’ during the anthem and right after,” one of the players told The Guardian. “And when brought to the attention of the BYU coaching staff there was no real response or sense of, like, alarm.”
Another player detailed the allegations to the British newspaper, saying there was an announcement warning fans against racist behavior but “nothing else was done to [her] knowledge.”
Jon McBride, BYU’s associate athletic director for communications and media strategy, said that The Guardian’s report was news to him.
“Your inquiry is the first time we are hearing this specific concern,” said McBride in reply to The Guardian‘s request for comment. “[At] the match, which occurred [in 2021], BYU responded to a concern from the [visiting team] about fan reaction when players knelt during the national anthem. A public announcement, similar to one made earlier, reminding fans to be respectful was repeated, and the game proceeded. We are not aware of any additional concerns being brought up during the game or any time thereafter. As we have stated, BYU will not tolerate racism in any form.”
The players elected to continue the game in face of the racial abuse.