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Utah Women’s Basketball Team Faces Racial Hate Crimes During NCAA Tournament Stay

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Utah Women's Basketball Team Faces Racial Hate Crimes During Ncaa Tournament Stay

The Utah women’s basketball team encountered disturbing incidents of racial hate crimes during their participation in this year’s NCAA Tournament, forcing them to change hotels mid-event, revealed head coach Lynne Roberts.

Speaking after the Utes‘ exit from the tourney’s second round, Roberts detailed the unsettling events that transpired during their stay, stating, «We had several instances of some kind of racial hate crimes towards our program.»

These distressing occurrences took place in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where the team had checked into a hotel near host Gonzaga‘s courts, approximately 30 minutes away.

The Mayor of Coeur d’Alene, Jim Hammond, condemned the treatment of not only the Utah team but also the UC Irvine women’s basketball team, who faced similar issues while in the area.

According to an incident report from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, the team members had a distressing encounter where racial slurs were hurled at them by individuals in pickup trucks displaying a Confederate flag.

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations released a statement denouncing the racial threats made towards the players, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation and the impact it had on the athletes.

Roberts explained that the team had to swiftly leave the hotel after the incidents, with assistance from the NCAA and Gonzaga in relocating to a new hotel.

Gonzaga‘s athletic department issued a public statement post-game, expressing their dismay over the events and affirming their commitment to standing against hate speech.

The situation was described by Roberts as upsetting and unfortunate, tarnishing what should have been a celebratory moment for the players participating in the tournament.

Reflecting on the incident, Roberts shared, «To have kind of a black eye on this experience is unfortunate,» recognizing the impact it had on the players’ safety and their overall tournament experience.

Rachel Adams

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