CSU Rams, Niko Medved apologize to Utah State Ukrainian basketball player

CSU athletics and Rams men’s basketball coach Niko Medved offered public apologies on behalf of the university after some fans could be heard chanting “Russia” at a Utah State player of Ukrainian descent.

While the Aggies guard Max Shulga was shooting free throws with 40.9 seconds left in an 88-79 win over CSU at Moby Arena, segments of the Rams crowd could be heard, even over the broadcast, to be shouting “Russia” in reference to Shulga, who hails from Kiev, Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Approximately 7,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the conflict began, according to a United Nations report issued late last December.

The chants prompted a statement from CSU to the media and via its Twitter feed, in which the athletic department said it “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.

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

Medved seconded that in a Twitter statement posted at 10:44 p.m. Saturday, writing, “I have so much respect for @USUBasketball and Max Shulga. We have amazing fans and students but this is not acceptable! My sincere apologies.”

Shulga made three of four free-throw attempts in the game’s final 41 seconds and finished the evening with nine points, six assists and three rebounds for the Aggies (19-5, 8-3 Mountain West). CSU (10-14, 2-9), which slipped to last place in the league, plays next at Air Force (12-12, 3-8) on Tuesday night.

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