Missouri's women's basketball players allegedly suffered racism at the hand of South Carolina fans during their recent trip to Columbia.
Athletic Director Jim Strek claims that players were spitting on and called “the n-word” during Missouri’s 65-54 loss to the Gamecocks on Jan. 28.
“It wasn’t a great atmosphere. It was really kind of unhealthy,” Strek said in a radio interview Tuesday. “We had, you know, players spit on, and the called ‘the n-word’ and things like that. I mean it was not a good environment.”
He believes the behavior of South Carolina coach Dawn Staley influenced the inappropriate actions of fans.
“I think Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere and it’s unfortunate that she felt she had to do that.”
Robin Pingeton, Missouri’s coach, acknowledged the harsh language her players endured, as well as the spitting, but ultimately called on both fan bases to “be better.”
“There’s no place in our game for that. Fans got to be better all around,” she said. “Our side, their side, everybody’s side. Fans got to be better. These are daughters playing a game they love to play.
Earlier in the season, South Carolina players were reportedly called “thugs” by Missouri fans when they visited the Tigers.
“It’s really unfortunate. But you’ve got two fan bases that are passionate and just got to clean it up a little bit,”
South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner said the school has reviewed the accusations put forward by Strek and “received no confirmation of the alleged behavior directed at the visiting team by fans at the game.”