Nebraska investigating Iowa football player's claim of racial slurs
One night after Iowa defensive tackle Faith Ekakitie claimed he was the victim of racial slurs from a Nebraska offensive lineman during Friday’s Big Ten football game, Nebraska’s athletic department says it is conducting an “internal review” and contacting Iowa’s staff for more information.
Ekakitie, who is black, told the Register after the game that the incident occurred in the first half of Iowa’s 40-10 win at Kinnick Stadium.
“I’m one to completely respect my opponents at all times, but they had a few guys out there that decided to talk a whole lot and a couple guys who were throwing around derogatory, racial slurs,” Ekakitie said on Friday.
“Anyone that is willing to openly go out of their way and throw that around — even in a competitive environment — I think you’re a piece of trash.”
Nebraska was informed of the claims while traveling back to Lincoln on Friday night. Assistant athletic director for communications Keith Mann replied via email on behalf of the Nebraska athletics department on Saturday night:
“Nebraska Athletics has reached out to the University of Iowa’s Athletics Department to ascertain the facts regarding the allegation made by a member of its football team. In addition, we are conducting our own internal review of the matter. Regardless of the outcome of our review, Nebraska Athletics does not condone such conduct of any kind, at any time, by anyone associated with our athletics program.”
Iowa responded to Nebraska's statement late Saturday:
"Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta and head football coach Kirk Ferentz have had conversations today with their counterparts at the University of Nebraska, and are comfortable with the steps being taken by Nebraska with the internal review that is underway."
Ekakitie declined to accuse any individual Cornhusker players in front of media after the game. The senior from Brampton, Ontario, finished the game with five tackles.
“No one else but me knew at the time, but I internalized it. I think some of the guys could tell that I was really worked up,” Ekakitie said of the incident. “I can get emotional sometimes, but I’m not one to have my eyes swell up or get worked up about much.”
Ekakitie was the subject of national news in July when Iowa City police approached him with guns drawn while he was playing the "Pokemon Go" mobile game in a park near the site of a recent bank robbery. He was released without incident after the “misunderstanding,” which was captured on video via body camera. He was praised by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz for how he handled the situation.