Officials with Colorado State University stepped up to apologize to one Utah State basketball player hailing from Ukraine after a number of fans started chanting “Russia” at him throughout the game this past Saturday.
Max Shulga, the player in question, plays as a guard for Utah State and is a native to the area of Kyiv. Russia invaded his home country just over a year ago to kick off a war that still continues to this day.
“Following tonight’s basketball game, we became aware that a small group of individuals in our student section chanted ‘Russia’ at a student-athlete from Utah State, who is from the Ukraine,” expressed the Colorado State Rams via a series of social media posts made to their Twitter account.
“On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State. This is a violation of our steadfast belief in the Mountain West Sportsmanship Policy and University Principles of Community,” continued the post on the subject. “Every participant, student, and fan should feel welcomed in our venues, and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State.”
The chants could be heard through the CBS Sports Network broadcast when Shulga makes his way up to the free throw line at the end of the game, according to a clip that ended up spreading like fire across social media. As the visiting team, Utah State was ahead by six with a score of 83-77 and just under a minute left on the game clock.
— Colby LeBaron (@clebaron617) February 5, 2023
Shulga ended up making a total of three of the possible four shot from the free-throw line within the final minute, as reported by ESPN. The final score ended up being 88-79.
“I have so much respect for [the Utah State University men’s basketball team] and Max Shulga,” stated Niko Medved, the Colorado State University men’s basketball coach. “We have amazing fans and students but this is not acceptable! My sincere apologies.”
I have so much respect for @USUBasketball and Max Shulga. We have amazing fans and students but this is not acceptable! My sincere apologies. https://t.co/PGPdGmVE7T
— Niko Medved (@coachNikoMedved) February 5, 2023
In the wake of these4 high-profile public apologies, Utah State Athletics put out its own official statement late Sunday.
“Utah State University and its athletics department fully supports Max Shulga, and his family, who reside in Ukraine,” the statement read. “The incident that occurred during our men’s basketball game at Colorado State last night was inappropriate and unacceptable. We appreciate the Colorado State administration and basketball staff for not condoning such behavior.”
Statement from Utah State Athletics regarding last night’s game against
Colorado State. pic.twitter.com/AfelA0eskl
— Utah State Athletics (@USUAthletics) February 5, 2023
Both schools are members of the Mountain West Conference.