Gamecock fans and former player: Mizzou AD's comments crossed the line

Gamecock fans and former player: Mizzou AD's comments crossed the line

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Sunday's women's basketball matchup at Colonial Life Arena was a gritty game between Gamecocks and Mizzou Tigers – complete with a midcourt skirmish, booing fans, and hard fouls.

Season ticket holder Robbie Robinson was there.

"It's really all in good fun. I mean, I was passionate about what was going on, but – at the same time – it wasn't the level of getting ugly, or calling anybody anything, or doing anything," he said.

Two others things Robinson said he didn't see or hear: fans spitting at Missouri players or shouting the N-word at them, so when the University of Missouri's Athletics Director, Jim Sterk, took the airwaves days later with those allegations Robertson was stunned.

"It wasn't a great atmosphere. It was really kind of unhealthy if you will. We had, you know, players spit on and called the N-word, and things like that. It was not a good environment," Sterk said in an interview on KTGR.

"We live, unfortunately, in a day and age where you throw the most outrageous accusations out there and see what sticks, and you never have to come back and prove anything," Robinson said in response.

But, even more outrageous to Robinson is what Sterk said next.

"Unfortunately, I think, you know, Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere," Sterk said in the radio interview.

One of Coach Dawn Staley's former players, Khadijah Sessions, is hurt.

"She's very professional. She shows a lot of integrity," Sessions said of Staley. "I would definitely like to see some proof of anything said."

On Wednesday, both Staley and the University of South Carolina's Athletics Director Ray Tanner said there is no proof of their knowledge.

"The accusations are serious and false," Staley said in a news conference where she briefly addressed the accusations.

Tanner had more to say. He said he's interviewed seven security employees who worked the game—including some who were positioned at the visitor's tunnel — and no one had any evidence to back up Missouri's claims.

"I do believe a retraction is necessary from Jim Sterk's comments," Tanner said.

Fans point out what they think is a larger issue. They believe Sterk's comments were racially charged against an African-American coach and team.

WIS reached out to Missouri's athletics department for an interview, comment, or any clarification and they said Sterk will have no further comment.

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