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U. Utah racial slur allegation ‘difficult to investigate,’ police say

University just made players available for interview

It has been “difficult to investigate,” allegations of racial slurs hurled against University of Utah female basketball players, according to a local law enforcement official.

The women’s basketball team were allegedly victims of several incidents of racial slurs from individuals who “revved” their truck engines before yelling “racial epithets,” including the n-word, according to the public university’s athletics department.

It has been more than a week since the allegations, but the police were only recently able to talk to the team.

“We truly don’t know what this is,” Coeur d’Alene police Captain Dave Hagar told the media. “[B]ecause we haven’t talked to more than one person who was a direct witness.”

“I’m hoping today that we’re at least going to have more to go on, some details of descriptions,” Hagar also said. “Without having witnesses to the actual events, it’s been very difficult to investigate.”

His boss, police Chief Lee White (pictured), said law enforcement has been “unable to find the people who harassed the players,” according to a Spokesman-Review paraphrase in a March 28 article.

The police did release body cam footage of an interview after the incident with Robert Moyer, the U. Utah donor who made the 911 call.

News outlets and political leaders reported allegations of what occurred.

“A group of racists waving confederate flags, revving their truck engines and yelling slurs allegedly victimized the University of Utah women’s basketball team[on March 21] during their stay in Coeur d’Alene for the NCAA Tournament held in Spokane,” The Spokesman-Review reported.

“As the team left the restaurant to return to their hotel, the driver of the truck was joined by ‘reinforcements from fellow racists,’ according to the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations,” the newspaper also reported. “They followed the women back to the resort, hurling more hate speech and revving the engines of their trucks, menacing the players.”

“We want to depend on the recollections of witnesses,” Hagar said, apparently explaining why it has not released the one video it has so far. “There are a lot of stories (on social media) of what the event was.”

The lack of clear details has not stopped public officials and the NCAA from issuing statements.

“It’s getting to the point where people of color can’t even travel anywhere,” Spokane NAACP President Lisa Gardner said, as reported by The Spokesman-Review. “This is starting to be reminiscent of the [1960s].”

“We express regret and true sorrow that your student athletes were treated with such disdainful treatment while visiting our city,” Coeur d’Alene Mayor Jim Hammond said.

“There is no place for racism, hate or bigotry in the great State of Idaho. We condemn bullies who seek to harass and silence others,” Republican Governor Brad Little stated.

Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox said he was “grateful” for the governor’s response.

“We are devastated about the Utah team’s experience while traveling to compete on what should have been a weekend competing on the brightest stage and creating some of the fondest memories of their lives,” the NCAA stated, as reported by the Associated Press.

MORE: Illinois State can’t ‘verify the use of a racial slur’ by fan

IMAGE: City of Coeur d’Alene/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.