EVANSTON, Ill. — An allegedly racist gesture captured at a Northwestern University basketball game has spread on social media, drawing rebukes locally and across the Big 10 conference.
The incident happened Tuesday as the Northwestern Wildcats hosted the Wisconsin Badgers.
The University of Wisconsin Athletic department denounced the actions of an individual dressed in Wisconsin RED. But Wisconsin spokespeople say he is not a current student or university employee. Whoever he is, university officials say the individual was ejected from the arena by Northwestern personnel.
“I don’t know why somebody would just come into our arena and be motivated to act like that,” Northwestern student Adam Smith said.
Like many others on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, Adam Smith says he is appalled by the ugly incident.
“I was just generally disgusted by it,” Northwestern student Virad Bhatti said. “There’s no room for this at a basketball game.”
Video from Tuesday night’s game shows an individual flipping off the Northwestern student section before slanting his eyes in what appears to be a racist gesture.
“Look at who the gesture is made towards and it’s a group of Asian American students,” says Saadia Pervaiz with the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). “It was extremely disappointing given what we’ve had to deal with.”
CAIR continues to track the recent surge of hate crimes directed at Asian Americans.
“It’s almost every day you’re seeing incidents about this,” Pervaiz said.
CAIR condemned the anti-Asian incident at the basketball game, adding that the group supports legislative efforts to address the problem.
The unidentified man was asked to leave the Welsh-Ryan arena and was escorted out of the building by Northwestern University personnel. Wisconsin officials have banned the man from future events.
Via Twitter, Wisconsin’s athletic department called the man’s gesture “abhorrent and disgusting,” saying in part, “This is no representation of what it means to be a Badger. We denounce any acts of racism or discrimination. We applaud Northwestern for removing this individual. His actions have no place at our events.”