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CSU apologizes for 'disrespectful and inappropriate' student chant at basketball game

Utah State guard Rylan Jones (15) tries to grab the ball against Colorado State guard Isaiah Stevens (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Fort Collins, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey
A game between Utah State University and Colorado State University on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. A match between CSU and Utah State last Saturday ended in controversy after some CSU students were heard audibly chanting the word "Russia" while a Ukraine-born player from Utah State, Max Shulga, was shooting free throws.

Colorado State University has issued an apology to Utah State University and one of its basketball players after CSU students started a chant at a game on Saturday that has since been called "disrespectful," "inappropriate" and "unacceptable."

Ukrainian-born Utah State player Max Shulga was shooting free throws toward the end of Saturday's game when chants of "Russia" were heard from the CSU student section. Shulga was born in Kyiv and his family still lives in Ukraine.

CSU released a statement in light of the incident. “Colorado State University apologizes to Max Shulga, the entire Utah State basketball team, and Utah State fans for the disrespectful and inappropriate behavior displayed by a small number of individuals at the CSU-Utah State basketball game," the statement read. "We, as a university community, expect our fans and employees to conduct themselves in a manner reflective of our Principles of Community."

The school also posted an apology on social media.

A spokesperson for CSU said the school "investigates potential Student Conduct Code violations through a variety of means including witness accounts and video." Saturday's game was televised and the chant could be heard on the broadcast.

Max Shulga released a statement on Twitter thanking CSU and its head basketball coachoach Niko Medved. Shulga said, while the chant was “extremely upsetting” he understands that sometimes “emotions can run high during competition and people can say and do things they do not really mean.” He accepted the CSU community’s apologies and asked everyone to join him in “praying for peace in Ukraine.”

KUNC reached out to CSU and Utah State for further comment on the incident. Both schools declined to comment.

As a reporter and host for KUNC, I follow the local stories of the day while also guiding KUNC listeners through NPR's wider-scope coverage. It's an honor and a privilege to help our audience start their day informed and entertained.