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Idahoans react to reported racial incident

| March 27, 2024 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — Officials and organizations across Idaho reacted Tuesday to the reported racial incident involving the University of Utah women’s basketball program in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Here are some of their statements:

"Idaho leaders and community members at all levels have been consistent and clear about our values — we fully reject racism in all its forms. There is no place for racism, hate, or bigotry in the great State of Idaho. We condemn bullies who seek to harass and silence others. I will continue the tradition of past governors in supporting our local leaders in their efforts to eradicate hate and bigotry from our communities.

"Whenever disgusting incidents like these have occurred in our state, I have seen Idahoans come through every single time to stand up for our shared values —  to show respect, love, and compassion for others. Idahoans are good people, and we must not allow the hateful, unacceptable actions of a few tarnish our state."

— Idaho Gov. Brad Little

“I am disgusted and angry about the disturbing events in Coeur d’Alene that were directed against athletes, students, and visitors to our state. This foul incident caused by a few is inexcusable and does not in any way reflect Idaho’s shared values. Idaho does not tolerate racism, hate, or bigotry in any form."

— Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke

"Let me be unequivocally clear: the behavior exhibited by these individuals does not represent the values or ethos of the people of Coeur d'Alene. Our community strives for inclusivity, kindness, and respect for all individuals, irrespective of their background or affiliations. The appalling conduct displayed by these individuals contradicts everything we stand for as a community.

"We extend our sincerest apologies to the women targeted by this despicable behavior. No one should ever endure such treatment, particularly as guests in our city. Please be assured that you have our full support, and we are dedicated to ensuring that those responsible for these acts are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

— Linda Coppess, president and CEO, Coeur d'Alene Regional Chamber

“To paraphrase former Gov. Phil Batt, the hatred spewed by a few screwballs and malcontents should not be attributed to all Idahoans. As a people, we stand firmly against those who promote hate and discrimination.”

— Jeff Malmen, chairman, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry Board

“This behavior is an affront to our values and not representative of the people of our great state. We extend our sincerest apologies to the Utah women's basketball team, their coaches, and staff for the reprehensible treatment they received." 

— Alex LaBeau,  IACI president 

"North Idaho College unequivocally stands against hate and racism and strongly condemns the hateful actions directed toward those students. No one should ever be subjected to bigotry and hatred. No student’s experience should ever be marred by hostility and intimidation.

"We stand by and support the college student-athletes, coaches, and support staff affected by this unacceptable incident."

— North Idaho College

"As representatives of our community, we are deeply troubled by the news of such incidents occurring within our midst. Racism has no place in our society, let alone in our community. We believe in inclusivity, equality, and respect for all individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background.

"It is essential that we address these issues head-on and work together as a community to ensure that incidents of racism are met with swift and decisive action. We must foster an environment where everyone feels safe, welcomed, and valued."

—  Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee

“As Republicans, we must do more than merely point to ‘platform statements’ on racism; we must act decisively to root it out where it exists within our organization. This means holding our party leaders accountable and ensuring that their actions reflect the values we profess to hold. There is simply no place for racism anywhere.”

— Former Idaho Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs and member of North Idaho Republicans

"We cannot be passive in the effort to eliminate hatred, bigotry and violence in our great state. Progress will mean actively asserting our condemnation of such actions and holding those responsible for peddling it, encouraging it and creating a culture of permission to act in abhorrent ways accountable. We must strongly reject and challenge ideologies that seek to undermine the principles of equality and justice upon which our society is built. We ask all Idahoans to join us in standing against extremism and promoting a culture of inclusivity, respect, and understanding in our communities." 

— Idaho Leaders United

"There is no place for hate at our university nor in our state. To have this event disparaged by such behavior is intolerable and we hope those who were hurt by these actions know that we, at the University of Idaho, in no way condone this behavior, beliefs or action."

— University of Idaho