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Princeton v Utah

Source: Chris Gardner / Getty

March Madness is supposed to be about the wonder and excitement of college sports. Teenagers and young adults are playing on the national stage for the biggest prize in the nation and unfortunately, bigots, racists, and white supremacists want to ruin the fun.

According to an NBCNews report, the University of Utah women’s basketball team was forced to switch hotels after a harrowing racist incident took place after they arrived in Idaho. The players, cheerleaders, and some band members were walking to a nearby restaurant when an unidentified person in a white pick-up truck drove by yelling “ni**er” at the group.

B-b-b-but wait, it gets worse. Upon leaving the restaurant, two more trucks approached the group and yelled “ni**er” again as they threateningly revved their engines.

Says Charmelle Green, a Black woman and Utah’s deputy athletics director:

“We all just were in shock, and we looked at each other like, did we just hear that?” Green said. “We kept walking, just shaking our heads, like, ‘I can’t believe that.’”

“I got emotional and started to cry,” Green told KSL. “I was just numb the entire night.”

For those who are unaware, Idaho has a long history of racism that is largely kept alive by groups like the Aryan Nation that occupies swaths of territory in North Idaho as noted by Boise State Public Radio. Although the team was scheduled to play their NCAA Tournament game in Spokane, Washington at Gonzaga University, however, limited hotel space forced them to book rooms in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in the northern part of the state near Spokane. In retrospect, Utah’s athletic director Mark Harlan regrets boarding the team in such an environment, “We should not have been there.”

“Gonzaga University has been made aware of the racially disparaging comments made to visiting student-athletes and travel party members in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in advance of the NCAA Women’s First and Second Round Basketball Tournament games these past several days,” the statement began.

“Hate speech in any form is repugnant, shameful and must never be tolerated. We worked hard to secure the opportunity to serve as the host institution, and our first priority is and must be the safety and welfare of all student-athletes, coaches, families and supporting staff.

We hope those racist truckers fall down a flight of stairs and severely injure themselves.


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