Home Sports Idaho police launch investigation after University of Utah’s women’s basketball team said it was targeted with racial slurs forcing them to move hotels during March Madness

Idaho police launch investigation after University of Utah’s women’s basketball team said it was targeted with racial slurs forcing them to move hotels during March Madness

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Utah coach Lynne Roberts says her team experienced







Police in Idaho have launched an investigation into allegations that the University of Utah women’s basketball team was subjected to racial slurs.

Utah coach Lynne Roberts said Monday that her team experienced a series of “racial hate crimes” after arriving at March Madness, forcing them to change hotels during the event for safety reasons.

Police are now investigating surveillance footage showing the team leaving a restaurant in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where they said they were racially harassed. The incident occurred off camera.

As the players left the restaurant, “two lifted trucks revved their engines and sped by,” according to the police report.

The trucks are said to have turned around and their occupants ‘shouted a racial slur’ towards the group with some of the African-American members.

Idaho police launch investigation after University of Utahs womens basketball team

Utah coach Lynne Roberts says her team experienced “racial hate crimes” after arriving in Spokane for March Madness.

The threatening behavior reportedly continued after dinner as the team was followed to their hotel.

Jim Hammond, mayor of Coeur d’Alene, apologized to the team and said: ‘All of us are with you. We hug you.’

Roberts revealed what happened after Utah lost to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday night. The 48-year-old did not go into details, but said there were several incidents Thursday night that were so disturbing that they raised concerns about his safety.

Utah was staying about 30 miles from Spokane, where Monday’s game took place, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and was moved to a different hotel on Friday.

“We had several instances of some type of racial hate crimes towards our program and (it was) incredibly disturbing for all of us,” Roberts said after his team’s 77-66 loss to Gonzaga.

‘You think that in our world, in athletics and in university environments, it is shocking. There is so much diversity on a college campus and that’s why you’re not exposed to it very often.

‘There are people who say, “Man, I can’t believe that happened.” But racism is real and it happens, and it’s horrible. So for our players, whether they’re white, black, green or whatever, no one knew how to handle it and it was really disturbing.

“For our players and staff not to feel safe in an NCAA tournament environment is a disaster.”

Utah, South Dakota State and UC Irvine were staying in hotels in Idaho even with Gonzaga as the host school due to a lack of hotel space in the Spokane area.

Several years ago, the city was announced as hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s tournament and there was also a large regional youth volleyball tournament in the area over the weekend.

That left limited hotel space and Gonzaga received a waiver from the NCAA to allow teams to stay in Coeur d’Alene.

Roberts said the NCAA and Gonzaga worked to move the team after the first night. “It was distracting, disturbing and unfortunate,” she added.

‘This should be positive for everyone involved. This should be a happy time for our program and to have a black eye on the experience is unfortunate.

Gonzaga released a statement after Roberts finished speaking saying the first priority is the safety and well-being of all participants in the event.

“We are frustrated and deeply saddened to learn that what should always be an incredible experience for visitors and the championship was compromised in some way by this situation, as it in no way reflects the values, standards and beliefs of which we at Gonzaga University takes responsibility.” the statement said.

More to follow.

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