Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands addresses Iowa's investigation into racial slurs directed at Wisconsin wrestler

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands opened his weekly press availability Wednesday by addressing the school's ongoing investigation into a fan yelling a racial slur at Wisconsin wrestler Austin Gomez last Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Part of Brands' opening statement included an apology to Gomez and his family, as well as a call to action.

"I would like to address what happened to Austin Gomez on Saturday and extend an apology to him and his family," Brands said. "No athlete, no parent, no opposing fan should have to go through what he went through ever, anywhere.

"There is no tolerance, no place, no room, ever, anywhere, for what happened on Saturday. The important thing is you know, from me, that diligence is high."

Wisconsin wrestler Austin Gomez, university address the incident 

Frances Gomez, Austin's mother, wrote on Twitter that an Iowa fan directed a racial slur toward her son after Saturday's dual between Iowa and Wisconsin. Gomez, who is Mexican American, confirmed as much in his own statement on Monday night.

Gomez, a form Iowa State wrestler who transferred to Wisconsin last summer, beat Vince Turk on Saturday, 3-2, at 149 pounds. The Hawkeyes won the dual, 29-6.

More:University of Iowa investigating racial slur allegedly yelled at Wisconsin wrestler by Iowa fan

"Growing up I watched duals that took place in (Carver-Hawkeye Arena) and loved everything about them," Gomez wrote. "I used to dream of wrestling in CHA and I still love to compete in CHA. Iowa fans are some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country who will back their team no matter what and I love that.

"But there comes a time where certain fans (not all fans) cross a line that doesn't need to be crossed," he added. "Hopefully there is action taken so other student-athletes and families don't have to have the same experience in the future."

Gomez also said Iowa officials had reached out to him and Wisconsin and set up a phone call for Tuesday. On Wednesday, Brands said that phone conversation went well.

"He was respectful. He was appreciative. We were apologetic," Brands said. "Our administration is on the same page as how I’m speaking right now. Diligence is high. We are looking into it. There is no place for this, any time, anywhere, ever.

"This is front-and-center on our mind. Our administration, it’s ongoing with them. When and if we find those fans, the penalties will be stiff for them."

Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin's athletic director, as well as Becky Blank, the University of Wisconsin's chancellor, also posted public statements denouncing the act, sharing their frustration over the situation and offering support to Gomez and his family. 

Tom Brands says social justice work important on University of Iowa campus

Brands said he also addressed the situation with his team.

"This world has a lot of work to do on social injustice issues," Brands said. "That work is important on our campus. That work is important in our athletic department. That work is important in our wrestling program, and it’s important to me.

"How do you do that work? You do that work by listening. You have difficult conversations, and you listen some more. I don’t know if my opinions really matter on what the solution is. I think I have to listen to the people that are in that environment every day, or were raised in it, and that’s how I’m going to learn."

The Hawkeyes, ranked No. 2 nationally by Intermat, wrestle No. 5 Oklahoma State on Saturday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The dual starts at 8 p.m. CST and can be streamed live on Flowrestling. 

More:Last Friday’s Iowa-Penn State dual was the most-watched wrestling broadcast in BTN history

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.