School Apologizes for Taunting of Ukrainian Player

Max Shulga and Utah State won the game
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2023 11:13 AM CST
Colorado State Apologizes for Fan's 'Russia' Chant
Utah State guard Max Shulga grabs the ball during a Jan. 21 game against San Jose State.   (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

Max Shulga had just stepped to the free throw line Saturday night when the chant from the stands began. "Russia," some in the crowd of 6,000, shouted as the Utah State-Colorado State basketball game in Fort Collins neared its end, the Coloradoan reports. Shulga is from Kyiv, and his family still lives there; Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago this month. The chant seemed to come from the student section, per ESPN, and could not be heard everywhere in Moby Arena. But microphones for the TV broadcast picked it up. After the game, Colorado State apologized in tweets.

"Every participant, student, and fan should be welcome in our venues," the statement said, blaming a small group of students, "and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State." Coach Niko Medved also apologized. Utah State won the game 88-79; Shulga, who has worn blue and yellow shoelaces at times in tribute to Ukraine, per the Guardian, made three free throws in the final minute. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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