WEBER COUNTY (ABC4 News) – For the second time in one week, Weber State University is investigating a complaint about alleged racist behavior. But this time, it reportedly involves one of their soccer club’s players who is heard saying racial slurs in a video posted on Twitter over the weekend.
The person who posted the video, agreed to speak exclusively with ABC4 News under the condition of anonymity. For the purpose of keeping his identity concealed, he will be referred to as John Doe in this report.
Doe, who is a person of color, said he met the athlete when they were both students at USU Eastern two years ago. The athlete reportedly recruited Doe to do summer door-to-door sales in Texas.
But when Doe declined and decided to move back to his home state instead, he said the athlete sent him a Snapchat video around May 2019 saying, “Hopefully you’re in the cotton fields where you belong, you worthless n*****.”
“It was very alarming for me and it always makes me feel uncomfortable,” said Doe.
At the time, Doe said he had posted the video on social media but took it down after the athlete allegedly asked him to help protect his image. More than a year later, he said he decided to repost it on Friday after feeling empowered from the nationwide call-to-action and dialogue about race in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
“I feel like this is the number one problem in America right now, people just pushing off racism. We’ve been doing it for hundreds of years, ever since we’ve been segregated, we’ve just been pushing it off and considering it dark humor or playing around,” he said.
Hundreds of Twitter users retweeted the video, urging Weber State University administration to take action on the matter. Some users claimed the student athlete has a history of racist behavior.
On Saturday, university officials responded with “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have referred this video to the appropriate offices on campus to look into the matter further.”
In a statement to ABC4 News, WSU Public Relations Director Allison Hess wrote:
“Weber State University was made aware of the video, which was recorded more than a year ago, over the weekend, and it was immediately referred to the appropriate campus offices.
Weber State University condemns hurtful language that diminishes individuals or makes anyone in our community feel unsafe or devalued. As a university, Weber State is committed to creating a campus environment where all are welcome, heard, valued and supported. As we become aware of issues unfolding across the globe, we recognize that we all can and must do better. For more information about how Weber State is supporting its community, visit https://www.weber.edu/safeatweber.
For your information, Weber State Athletics does not sponsor a NCAA men’s soccer team. We have a soccer club that is part of the competitive sports program, which allows students, faculty, staff and community members to participate in sports at various levels through intramural sports and sport clubs programs. However, because of COVID-19, our competitive sports program is inactive.”
Doe said he talked to officials over the weekend, but wasn’t pleased by the response he was given.
“They told me that since I am not affiliated with Weber State University or currently attend as a student, that they would not be able to look into my complaint,” he said. “I felt like that was just a slap in the face and disrespectful because it doesn’t matter if the person addressing the problem is affiliated with the school. The person in question is the one that’s attending the university.”
When asked if this was true, administrators said, “Weber State responded immediately. This is an ongoing matter that is currently under review.”
Requests made by ABC4 News to the student athlete for comment were unsuccessful. Doe said he is hoping for expulsion from the school and for the student athlete to understand why his words and actions can be extremely hurtful to people of color.
“I feel like he needs to face consequences for what he said and how he acts. We need to completely eradicate that childish behavior and not have it passed on to their kids and future generations,” he said. “This is an obligation for minorities all around the country to keep exposing racist people and calling them out.”