Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart issues comments after Wildcat fan caught using racial slur directed at Tennessee fan
The only thing uglier inside Rupp Arena than Kentucky’s second-half collapse on Tuesday night against Tennessee was the insensitive behavior of a fan that was caught on camera.
The Volunteers were down by 11 at halftime of Tuesday night’s game but outscored the Wildcats 50-31 in the second half to leave Rupp Arena with a 81-73 win.
Before the final buzzer was sounded, a Kentucky fan leaving the game was caught on camera directing a racial slur at a celebrating Tennessee fan in the arena. The Kentucky fan has been identified as school alum and noted Wildcat basketball fan, Ashley Lyles. According to Lex18, Lyles has apologized for her actions.
That apology may not be sufficient for Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart, however, as the administrator has issued the following comments after seeing the video.
“An incident like the one that took place last night at Rupp Arena has no place at the University of Kentucky. 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.”
It will be interesting to see what, if any, action Kentucky takes against Lyles following the capturing of her ugly comments. In an interesting twist, Lyles met with the Kentucky basketball team back in 2016 after she was diagnosed with cancer and the Wildcats dedicated a win in her honor that season.
Kentucky Sports Radio wrote about her story that season and following the release of the video featuring her racist comments, KSR founder Matt Jones issued comments regarding Lyles that he has since retracted. Many Tennessee fans read his initial comments as excusing Lyle’s behavior.
Here is the latest comment Jones offered on the situation:
“I deleted one of my tweets tonight because it was poorly worded and made people think I was rationalizing or excusing behavior that I was not. It should go without saying but it still should be said. The racist slur in Rupp was unequivocally wrong and should not be tolerated.”