Colorado state apologizes for pro-Russian student chant directed at Ukrainian basketball player

Colorado State University is apologizing after some of its student spectators led a pro-Russian chant at a Ukrainian student-athlete on the opposing team during a basketball game on Saturday night.

Officials said in a tweet they learned after the game “that a small group of individuals from our student section chanted ‘Russia’ to a student-athlete from Utah State, who is from Ukraine”.

“On behalf of the State of Colorado, we apologize to the student-athlete and the State of Utah,” the school said in a follow-up tweet.

“Every attendee, student, and fan should feel welcome in our halls, and for something like this to happen is unacceptable in the state of Colorado,” the tweet thread said. concluded.

Although the university did not name the targeted student in its tweets, NBC affiliate KSL of Salt Lake City reported that Utah State junior guard Max Shulga was the target of the chant, which happened while attempting free throws late in the game.

Shulga was born in kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, and attended high school in Spain, according to his official biography.

KSL reported last year that Shulga’s family still resides in Kyiv and that he draped himself in a Ukrainian flag at the start of the first match after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Utah State students also held yellow and blue papersresembling the Ukrainian flag, during this match to show their support for Shulga.

The year-long war has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and soldiers, as well as Russian soldiers who have committed sexual violence and torture against women and children in Ukraine, as well as other war crimes , according to a United Nations survey.

Utah State Athletics released a statement on Sunday condemning the incident, calling it “inappropriate and unacceptable”, and said the department and the university support Shulga and her family in Ukraine.

“We appreciate the Colorado State administration and basketball staff for not condoning such behavior,” the statement concluded.

In a statement provided to NBC News, Colorado State University assistant vice president of communications Greg Harrison said the university apologizes to Shuga, the Colorado basketball team. State of Utah and its fans, and that CSU students or employees who participate in the singing may be subject to disciplinary action.

“If a student or employee was involved [in the chant] and can be identified, they would be subject to review under the student code of conduct,” Harrison said. “Based on the findings of a code of conduct review, a student or employee may be prohibited from participating in future sporting events, among other actions.”

The Utah State Aggies won Saturday night’s game against the Colorado Rams 88-79.


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