Houston volleyball players called out by school football stars for appearing in racist video

2018 NCAA Women's Division I Volleyball Championship
Jamie Schwaberow

Two University of Houston volleyball players were allegedly captured in a video laughing while walking past an oak tree in Columbus, Texas, where a mob lynched two black teenagers in 1935. Anonymous Twitter user posted a video of Sunday’s incident. The user claimed first-year volleyball player Ryleigh Whitekettle filmed and posted the video to her Snapchat, and her original caption read, “This is the hanging tree where we used to hang people.”

According to The Puma, the school’s student newspaper, Abbie Jackson, senior, drove the vehicle while her teammate Isabel Theut – originally from Columbus – laughed from the backseat. Jackson, Theut and Whitekettle all shut down their Twitter accounts shortly after the video – which had more than 22,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon – was posted and went viral.

A Houston Athletics spokesperson said The Puma that the school is “aware of the situation and is actively exercising our due diligence” but did not comment further, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In the aftermath, the Houston student-athletes expressed their disappointment at the actions of their classmates.

Cougars quarterback Ike Ogbogu posted a photo of Theut and Jackson at a recent protest against police brutality with the caption, “That’s pretty dishonest of those two.”

Cam’Ron Johnson Offensive Lineman added“what’s that on y’all? @UHVolleyball,” while track and field athlete Tianna Randle called the video “pathetic.”

Jackson Theut and Whitekettle have remained on Houston’s roster since Tuesday.


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