U.S.

Video: Virginia Tech Women's Lacrosse Team Repeatedly Sings N-Word

Virginia Tech’s athletics website lists the “student-athlete pylons of promise” as integrity, service, honor and excellence, and says that they’re “stronger together.”

After an on-the-road win over Elon University on Saturday, the athletes of the VT women’s lacrosse team hopped back on the bus and proceeded to sing the n-word repeatedly, record it and post it to social media.

Pete Moris, associate athletics director, strategic communications, at VT declined to comment on whether the video met those student-athlete pylons of promise and told Newsweek that the women’s lacrosse head coach, John Sung, would not comment either.

A statement from Sung, posted to Twitter Sunday, is “the extent of our comment on the matter at this time,” Moris said. That statement said the women sang “along to a song that included derogatory lyrics,” and that “we have confidence that the team will learn from this mistake and understand that these actions reflect poorly on our program and do not represent the values of our program or the principles of the university.”

The video was posted to social media and has since been re-uploaded to YouTube. It shows the women, who are predominantly white, singing the lyrics to Lil Dicky’s song "Freaky Friday" featuring Chris Brown, in which Brown sings, “Wonder if I could say the n-word.” Brown then sings the n-word repeatedly. The women sang along, repeating the n-word before hitting the chorus of, “I woke up in Chris Brown’s body.”

Following the video, the entire team met with members of the VT athletics administration, said Sung’s statement. It also said, “We are engaged in conversations within the campus community to share our sincere apology.”

The lack of diversity in the sport of lacrosse is apparent to many involved in the community. As of 2016, 86 percent of men’s and women’s college-level lacrosse players were white, The Washington Post reported. Comments about the video online included some players saying incidents like the one with the VT team made them feel “unwanted” in the sport. Others lamented that the sport wouldn’t be able to move forward if people felt unwelcome due to actions like those shown in the video.

Professional lacrosse player Kyle Harrison tweeted his thoughts on the video and said, “To say I’m disappointed in the video I was just sent would be an understatement. We’re not heading the right direction.” He later added words of encouragement and said, “We WILL make this better for the next generation of players.”

Coach Sung told The Roanoke Times that his players are “good kids” but that they “made a bad decision." The coach said that the program was as remorseful as they could be. He also said that though he knows the team will never be able to totally make the situation right, the moment is one that defines the program but will also “help make this program be better.”

Virginia Tech’s director of athletics, Whit Babcock, and women’s lacrosse coaches Sung and Amanda Shimp did not immediately return Newsweek’s requests for comment.