NewsCovering Kentucky


UK Athletic Director: Fan banned from events after racial slur

Posted at 3:41 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 04:52:20-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart has permanently revoked the privileges of a fan captured on video calling a Tennessee fan a racial slur.

A man who took one of the videos told LEX 18 the incident happened toward the end of Tuesday night's basketball game at Rupp Arena. Kentucky blew a 17-point lead in the second half.

Tennessee fan Ethan Williams said he started recording a video of UK fans leaving before the game was over. He said he started yelling out things from his seat, asking why they were leaving and laughing about it.

That's when, he said, a woman walking out stopped next to his row and called him a racial slur.

Another young woman sitting nearby confirmed to LEX 18 that she took a second video of the same incident.

After LEX 18 posted the video, a woman identifying herself as Ashley Lyles issued an apology for her behavior.

“My reaction after the game was unacceptable, period. It was against all values of the University and state of Kentucky. I humbly apologize to the individuals at which my words were directed," writes Lyles, "My words were hurtful and hateful and have no place in this world. I apologize to the University and state of Kentucky for the embarrassment I have caused. I want my apology not just to be in words, but in actions moving forward.”

Both of those videos have gone viral on Twitter, with many on social media calling on UK Athletics to ban that woman from all future games.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart did respond on Twitter, stating that effective immediately, Lyles will no longer be welcome at UK athletic events.

"We have permanently revoked ticket privileges for all UK Athletics events from the person who made the abusive remark at Tuesday night’s game, effective immediately. This misconduct is unacceptable, unwelcome at the University of Kentucky and not reflective of our values," wrote Barnhart.

He also reached out the Tennessee fan to issue an apology.