NewsCovering Kentucky


UK fan apologizes after video shows her calling Tennessee fan racial slur

Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 06:48:53-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Some people are calling on the University of Kentucky to take action after two videos on social media show a Kentucky fan calling a Tennessee fan a racial slur. The woman in the video has issued a statement regarding her actions and admitted to using the word.

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.

It was an intense game, as rivalry matches usually are, and 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.

Both of those videos are making the rounds on Twitter, with thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Some on social media are calling on UK Athletics to ban that woman from all future games.

Mitch Barnhart tweeted on Wednesday that there will be consequences for the fan's behavior.

Former UK wide receiver coach Lamar Thomas criticized the woman and emphasized that this woman did not represent the whole of the Big Blue Nation.


Former Courier-Journal sports reporter Kyle Tucker emphatically made it known that the woman should never step foot in Rupp Arena again.

LEX 18 reached out to a spokesperson for the athletics department on Wednesday. Although they did not release an official statement, they did say they were investigating the incident and there would be consequences. The woman is not a season ticket holder.

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.”


CORRECTION: The sources of the video clips are misidentified. The longer and wider shot is courtesy of the Twitter handle @EWILLY27, while the shorter, closer shot is courtesy of the Twitter handle @_KXY3.