BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe responds to reports of racism and shares a message: ‘Love one another’

‘Let me be clear where BYU stands on this issue: racism is disgusting and unacceptable’

Following discussions about BYU and racism that surfaced during and after a BYU vs. Duke University women’s volleyball match Aug. 22 on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe emphasized that “BYU and BYU athletics are committed to zero tolerance of racism. 

“Let me be clear where BYU stands on this issue: Racism is disgusting and unacceptable” he wrote in a op-ed published in the Deseret News on Thursday, Sept. 1.

The column, “A message from BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe: ‘Love one another,’” follows media reports and social media discussions about the athletic event — during which Duke’s Rachel Richardson reported that she was targeted with racist slurs.

Holmoe offered details about the volleyball match and BYU’s response, and called for Christians, communities and the country to address racism.

“This is personal for me,” he wrote. “It is personal because of my interaction with Rachel. It is also personal because of the many BYU coaches, athletes, staff and students who are people of color. ….

“As part of the BYU Honor Code, students and employees agree to ‘respect others, including the avoidance of profane or vulgar language.’ Obviously, this also includes racist language. I have met with our coaches and athletic staff this week. They are united in taking any necessary steps when our athletic venues don’t live up to these ideals, including stopping play when necessary. 

“While some will try to define BYU by this incident, we will ultimately be defined by how we respond. The BYU I know and love rejects racism.”

Brigham Young University sign
Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah. | Deseret News archives

The Christ-centered message “Love one another” should guide the university and its students as they strive to root out racism in all of its forms, Holmoe wrote. He recalled that in the face of significant racial tensions across the country in fall 2020, BYU football players chose to focus on the theme “Love one another.”

He called for all to embrace the words of President Russell M. Nelson: “Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent! ... God does not love one race more than another. ... I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice.”

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A message from BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe: ‘Love one another’
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