LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Kentucky fan who was recorded yelling a racial slur at a Tennessee fan in the waning minutes of the Wildcats’ Tuesday loss to the Volunteers will face consequences from the university.
“An incident like the one that took place last night at Rupp Arena has no place at the University of Kentucky,” UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart tweeted Wednesday night. “There will be consequences for this unacceptable behavior and they will be announced once communicated to the offending party.
“While the person in question is not a season ticket holder, there are still ways to ensure those actions are not repeated at future UK events. We also have reached out to the patron who was the victim of this abusive and inexcusable language to apologize personally. That’s not who we are as an athletics department.”
Ethan Williams, a Tennessee fan, posted a video to Twitter after the game showing a Kentucky fan yelling a racial slur at him as she left the Rupp Arena stands.
A woman identifying herself as Ashley Lyles to Lexington television station WLEX issued an apology for her comments.
“My reaction after the game was unacceptable, period,” she told the television station. “It was against all values of the university and state of Kentucky. I humbly apologize to the individuals at which my words were directed. My words were hurtful and hateful and have no place in this world. I apologize to the university and state of Kentucky for the embarrassment I have caused. I want my apology not just to be in words, but in actions moving forward.”
Williams’ video had been retweeted more than 500 times as of Wednesday evening.
Lyles is the founder of Sparkle Bright, a nonprofit created to support brain cancer patients. According to the organization’s website, she started Sparkle Bright after surviving an aggressive form of brain cancer.
According to a 2017 story from Kentucky Sports Radio, Lyles became a well-known figure among Kentucky fans during her treatments at events like the John Calipari Fantasy Camp and UK basketball women’s clinic. The Sparkle Bright website includes a photograph of her with former Kentucky players De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe.