Bama Gymnast Alleges Racial Injustice
Racial injustice is in the forefront of the news cycle amid the recent death's of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Amid the protests of racial injustice, many minorities have been sharing personal accounts of racism they have experienced. One former Crimson Tide Gymnast, Tia Kiaku, tells a story of her experience as a member of the Alabama gymnastics team.
Kiaku alleges that an Alabama assistant coach made a racially insensitive comment that was passed off as a joke. Kiaku transferred to Alabama in 2019 for her sophomore year after spending her freshman year at Ball State. Kiaku left the Crimson Tide program after just one season. Kiaku alleges she was not alone in feeling slighted by the coach's comment, she shared a text-screenshot, discussing the incident.
Alabama Athletic Director, Greg Byrne released a statement on Sunday in support of racial equality and committing to support the minority Crimson Tide athletes. He has not yet commented on Kiaku's experience. Alabama Gymnastics Coach Dana Duckworth used the hashtag #WeStandTogether to show her support for Byrne's message.
Kiaku states that she has already spoken with Title IX and the comment was "deemed a 'bad joke'" she also states the coach in question is still on Duckworth's staff.
Bill Lorenz is listed on the Alabama website as an assistant coach, the only coach to have vault honors in his biography. Lorenz helped Katie Bailey, Mackenzie Brannan and Lexi Graber win titles in the vault. Lorenz also serves as the program's recruiting coordinator.