Duke University volleyball player Rachel Richardson claimed that she was the target of racial slurs during a match against Brigham Young University this past weekend — but her story seems to have less evidence than the rape allegations once leveled against members of her school's lacrosse team.
It was actually Lesa Pamplin, Richardson's godmother, who first made the accusation on Twitter. She claimed that Richardson was called the N-word "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...
Duke University volleyball player Rachel Richardson claimed that she was the target of racial slurs during a match against Brigham Young University this past weekend — but her story seems to have less evidence than the rape allegations once leveled against members of her school’s lacrosse team.
It was actually Lesa Pamplin, Richardson’s godmother, who first made the accusation on Twitter. She claimed that Richardson was called the N-word “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.”
Richardson later confirmed the alleged incident in her own Twitter statement. She claimed further in an interview with ESPN that someone in the BYU student section shouted the N-word each time she was in the serving position.
“I heard a very strong, negative racial slur… so I served the ball, got through the play. And then the next time I went back to serve, I heard it extremely clear again, but that was the end of the game,” she said, adding that the BYU section had gotten “more extreme, more intense” throughout the match.
If you’ve been following the stream of thinly sourced accounts of hate crimes in recent years, key details from Richardson’s story may have raised your suspicions. Why was Richardson’s godmother the first to share this publicly? Why wouldn’t the other members of the student section tell the offender to stop? Why didn’t coaches and athletic officials step in? College athletic match-ups are usually filmed — so would the slurs not be caught on tape?
Despite the lack of immediate evidence, thousands of people took the bait. BYU’s athletic director met with Richardson to apologize after the match, and the school implied they found the culprit by suspending one fan from future games.
“To say we are extremely disheartened in the actions of a small number of fans in last night’s volleyball match in Smith Fieldhouse between BYU and Duke is not strong enough language,” BYU said in a statement. “We will not tolerate behavior of this kind. Specifically, the use of a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU athletics holds a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior.”
Richardson’s story was covered sympathetically and without question by major news outlets, including ESPN, Good Morning America, ABC News, CNN and Deadspin. LeBron James, who infamously said that black men were being hunted on the street, naturally chimed in as well.
Not long after the nationwide hysteria broke out, more sober-minded individuals investigated the incident. BYU police reviewed footage from the match and said they did not observe anyone — including the fan who was suspended — shouting the N-word. The fan in question was “identified” by Duke players as the offender — but only by his voice. The police review found that this individual wasn’t even in the student section at the time the slurs were allegedly being yelled and was busy playing on his phone.
“I told the athletic staff that I never heard one racial comment being made,” a BYU police officer wrote in his report of the incident.
“Various BYU Athletics employees have been reviewing video from BYUtv and other cameras in the facility that the volleyball team has access to for film review. This has been ongoing since right after the match on Friday night,” BYU associate athletic director Jon McBride said in a statement. “The person who was banned was the person identified by Duke as using racial slurs. However, we have been unable to find any evidence of that person using slurs in the match.”
The BYU student paper the Cougar Chronicle published a report Wednesday casting further doubt on Richardson’s story; at least half a dozen members of the student section said they never heard any slurs being shouted during the volleyball game. Meanwhile, the campus police department is practically begging someone to come forward with proof of the incident, saying, “We wish someone would.”
Screenshots of the full game footage posted by the Turtleboy Sports blog show Richardson never reacted nor turned to look at the crowd while serving, nor did black members of BYU’s basketball team, who were right next to the student section. Seems odd that they would ignore one of their peers shouting the N-word?
Interestingly, Richardson and her family seem quite keen to depict white people as villains. Pamplin, Richardson’s godmother who first publicized the incident, happens to be a current judicial candidate in Texas. Her now-private Twitter account is filled with anti-white racism.
“White women & men always disappoint,” she says in one tweet.
“These white folks ain’t never had they ass kicked, but they better get used to it,” she also tweeted. Pamplin often called white people “crackers” and said that she felt she was “at war” with white people. She repeatedly denigrated black people who married whites.
Richardson herself liked a viral tweet suggesting that Martin Luther King Jr. would support white people being enslaved and whipped by black people.
So is Richardson just another Jussie Smollett or Bubba Wallace, dreaming up a hate crime so that she can cash-in on the attention and victimhood? Has the demand for racism once again outweighed the supply? Whether Richardson’s story is an honest mistake or an intentional fabrication, this should be another lesson to our nation’s shameless race-baiters to look before you leap.