UW Athletics denounces racist taunts aimed at its wrestler during Iowa match

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 2:42 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - University of Wisconsin Athletics is denouncing the behavior of a fan who allegedly called one of the Badger student-athletes a racial slur at a wrestling match over the weekend at Iowa.

UW-Madison Athletic Director Chris McIntosh stated that redshirt junior Austin Gomez and his family were “the recipients of vulgar and racially insensitive language” during the team’s match Saturday at Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“This behavior has no place in the Big Ten and college athletics as a whole. It is totally unacceptable,” McIntosh stated.

UW Athletics noted it has been in contact with Gomez, his family and the Iowa athletics administration on the investigation of this incident.

“I appreciate the Gomez family having the courage to bring this to light. They have our complete support,” UW Athletics continued.

Austin Gomez, who transferred from Iowa State University this season, said that he appreciated the support he was receiving.

“Iowa fans are some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country who will back their team no matter what and I love that,” Gomez said. “But there comes a time where certain fans (not all fans) cross a line that doesn’t need to be crossed.”

He said he hopes action is taken so that other families don’t have to go through the same experience.

The University of Iowa Athletic Administration condemned the fan’s speech, saying they would take action.

“Iowa’s Athletic Administration has reached out to Wisconsin, and the student-athlete, to apologize for the incident and to let them know we are following up on this matter,” Iowa’s athletic department wrote. “Any individual found in violation of our fan behavior policy is subject to being banned from attending future Hawkeye athletic events.”

In January, UW-Madison announced that it had banned from all athletic events an individual accused of “abhorrent anti-Asian activities” during a men’s basketball road game versus Northwestern.

“I’ll say it again: Racist behavior has no place in college athletics,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

According to UW-Athletics, Gomez was one of the most sought-after recruits in the country and came in as the No. 11 overall recruit. He took third at the Big 12 Championship (149-pound weight class) during his 2018-19 season at Iowa State and was a 2019 NCAA Qualifier.

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