A video quickly making its way across the internet shows multiple members of the Virginia Tech women’s lacrosse team chanting an iteration of the n-word.
The identities of the participants were confirmed by Virginia Tech women’s lacrosse coach John Sung, who referred to the incident and resulting outrage as “a teachable moment.”
The 13-second long clip was originally shared by a Snapchat account purporting to belong to Molly Soule, who is a junior on the Hokies’ team.
The Snapchat video was later posted to YouTube by user Patrick Stuart under the no-caps title, “exposed virginia tech women’s lacrosse team sings the n word.”
Since finding its way outside the semi-walled-off territory of the Soule Snapchat account, the video has been viewed and shared thousands of times as of this writing and stands to become immensely viral due to its somewhat controversial content.
Many commentators—random and authoritative—have pointed out that in the video, the lacrosse team members are singing the song “Freaky Friday” by rapper Lil Dicky.
In an interview with the Roanoke Times, Sung said, “There was no malice involved. They just thought that they were singing along to a song. They had just won. They’re singing songs. The first couple songs were Disney songs…They were celebrating and they were dancing and they were excited.”
Still, Sung said the explanation for the students’ behavior didn’t excuse their use of the word. While attempting to find a potential bright side to all of the acrimony, Sung remarked:
We’re trying to do what’s right. This isn’t something that we sweep under the rug. The team is extremely sorry. They’re trying to make it right. And I know that we’ll never make it right with anybody, but…this is a moment that defines this program but yet a moment that will help this program be better.
The Roanoke Times report also noted that athletic director Whit Babcock and the players were being kept from giving official interviews at this time.
The image painted by that report shows a coach deeply embarrassed. And Sung continued to express dismay for his players’ decision regarding the song and its n-word-centric refrain.
He said, “They’ve got to be educated to make better decisions. They’ve got to know what’s socially acceptable, and I think they’re learning all those things. It’s a lot on me as the leader. People forget — I’m a minority.”
[image via screengrab/Snapchat/Molly Soule/YouTube/Patrick Stuart]