No Charges Will Be Filed Over Racial Slurs at Team

Idaho prosecutors say 18-year-old was trying to be funny
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2024 5:30 PM CDT
Updated May 8, 2024 5:18 PM CDT
Utah Describes Racial Abuse During NCAA Tournament
Utah guard Ines Vieira (2), guard Kennady McQueen, and teammates celebrate a win against South Dakota State in a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Washington, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
UPDATE May 8, 2024 5:18 PM CDT

The high school student suspected of yelling racial slurs at a women's basketball team during March Madness will not be charged by Idaho prosecutors. A statement by Coeur d'Alene city attorneys called the taunts racist and misogynistic but said they were protected speech, so Anthony Myers' conduct was not criminal. The University of Utah team was staying in Idaho while playing in Spokane, Washington. Myers, 18, admitted using the N-word and referring to a sex act while hollering at the team as it walked to a restaurant in what he called an attempt to be funny. "I'm disappointed there's not some form of community service that child can perform to be held accountable," Mayor Jim Hammond said, per the Spokesman-Review in Spokane.

Mar 28, 2024 5:30 PM CDT

The Utah women's basketball team has filed a police complaint and described the racial abuse it reported while staying in Idaho for the NCAA tournament. Officials said members of the team were left "deeply troubled and shaken" by the encounters, CNN reports, and Coeur d'Alene police say they've begun an investigation. But the police chief said officers had been unable to "to locate individuals who yelled the racial slurs" and were unsure who all of the victims might be, saying that there might have been 100 people in the area at the time. The FBI is involved, Lee White said.

A deputy athletics director told KSL that when Utah's team was walking to a restaurant last Thursday, a white truck approached the group, its engines revving, and someone yelled the N-word before the truck sped away. "Everybody was in shock—our cheerleaders, our students that were in that area that heard it clearly were just frozen," Charmelle Green said. Something similar happened as the group was leaving the restaurant, she said. Two trucks raced their engines while the slur was hollered at the group. "I got emotional and started to cry," said the school athletics official, who is Black.

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The team then moved its accommodations to Spokane, Washington, about 30 miles away, where its games were being played. UC Irvine's team also moved, though it had not had problems. Utah beat South Dakota State on Saturday, then lost in the second round to Gonzaga on Monday. The NCAA issued a statement condemning the abuse, and Coeur d'Alene's mayor apologized to the team. The city's press conference Tuesday was disrupted by David Reilly, a far-right activist, drawing boos from the gathering, per MSNBC. But officials ended the news conference. (More racial slurs stories.)

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