Police Confirm 'Clearly Audible' Racial Slur Hurled At Utah Basketball Team

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Idaho police have confirmed that a "clearly audible" racial slur was hurled at the Utah women's basketball team ahead of their first NCAA tournament game, per CNN.

The Utes were staying at a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho before their first-round game against South Dakota State last month when alleged "racial hate crimes" unfolded while they were out for dinner in the area.

Amid an investigation into the incident, Coeur d’Alene police said Wednesday (April 3) they “collected approximately 35 hours of video” from businesses in the area.

“Some of the surveillance video/audio corroborates what was reported by members of the basketball program and detectives are currently working to locate any additional evidence,” Sergeant Jared Reneau of the Coeur d’Alene police department said in a statement. “We’ve identified an audio recording where the use of a racial slur was clearly audible. We’re working determine the context and conduct associated with its use to determine if is a violation of the law. While we’re still reviewing evidence, it appears the use of a racial slur occurred more than one time.”

Utah beat South Dakota State in the first round of the tournament before losing their second game against Gonzaga 77-66. The games were hosted at Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington, but the team initially stayed in Coeur d'Alene due to limited hotel availability.

Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said the women's team switched hotels after the alleged racial abuse.

“For our players and staff to not feel safe in an NCAA tournament environment, it’s messed up, and so we moved hotels,” she said. “The NCAA and [host university] Gonzaga worked to get us in a new hotel and we appreciate that. That’s what happened. It was a distraction and upsetting and unfortunate.

According to Utah officials, passengers from a vehicle that drove past the team as they were on the way to dinner “shouted racial epithets at the group.” When the Utes were walking back from the dinner, a vehicle revved its engine at the team while passengers again hurled “racially disparaging words and threats,” Utah officials said.

Police said earlier this week that they were trying to identify a silver car in the area when the incident unfolded.

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