Members of the soccer team at Virginia State University were subjected to racial slurs and taunting by fans at a match at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. During the game, the fans reportedly yelled the N-word and made monkey noises aimed at Virginia State student-athletes.
In a statement, the university said that “our consistent goal has always been to provide a quality athletic experience for our student-athletes on and off campus, which does not include inappropriate, unacceptable, or racially insensitive comments by spectators, coaches, officials, or students.”
Virginia State President Makola M. Abdullah added that “racist and abusive language has no place in college sports. Our student-athletes work very hard to represent our university, and we must work together to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe and inclusive environment.”
Both the athletic director and the president of Guilford College apologized for the behavior of the fans. Kyle Farmbry, president of Guilford College, admitted that “spectators associated with Guilford College directed very disrespectful comments toward the visiting players, tarnishing the experience of those who attended, especially our guests. It was in very poor taste and was very poor sportsmanship by anyone’s definition. The behavior of the type displayed by our spectators last night is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
President Farmbry promised a full investigation and said he would take appropriate action relative to the college’s code of conduct. A follow-up report by the college stated that “there was no evidence that the heckling included racially insensitive comments.”
African Americans make up 28 percent of the student body at Guilford College.