State Watch

University apologizes after students chanted ‘Russia’ at Ukrainian basketball player

SMU guard Jefferson Koulibaly (0) guards Utah State guard Max Shulga (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Colorado State University (CSU) has apologized for chants of “Russia” form its student section near the end of a basketball game Saturday night while an opposing player from Ukraine was shooting a free throw.

“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,” the university wrote in a tweet on Sunday. 

“On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State,” it added.

“Every participant, student, and fan should feel welcomed in our venues, and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State.”

NBC affiliate KSL reported that Utah State Aggies junior guard Max Shulga was the target of the chants. Shulga, a native of Kyiv, Ukraine, was attempting free throws near the end of his team’s 88-79 win over the Rams. 

The incident comes as Russia’s war with Ukraine closes nears a year of fighting, resulting in thousands of deaths on both sides and the displacement of some eight million Ukrainian citizens. 

Utah State and Shulga also issued statements on the matter, with the university saying it will fully support Shulga and his family, who still reside in Ukraine. 

“We appreciate the Colorado State Administration and Basketball staff for not condoning such behavior,” Utah State said in its statement. 

Shulga said his own statement that he accepted the apology from Colorado State.

“This has been an extremely difficult and challenging year with my family and loved ones so far away and living in constant danger,” he wrote.

“As for the chants last night, while extremely upsetting int he moment, I also know how emotions can run high during competition and people can do and say things they do not really mean,” he added.

“I hope you will all join me in praying for peace in Ukraine.”

Tags CBS Sports Network Colorado State University Max Shulga Russia-Ukraine conflict Utah State University

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